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Cornell University Library 
LB695.T8 C31 
The life of Jonathan Baldwi^ri jurne^^^^ 


3 1924 030 583 300 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



the life of 
Jonathan BaldwinTurner 



The first woman elected to the Board 
< of Trustees of the University 
' of Illinois 



Copyright, 1911, by 

The Dedication 
of this volume is to 

^tt (§ranbcttUiren anb WBiatUnQ people 

Whom ray father loved 



I. Genealogy and Early Life i 

II. Life at Yale College 4 

III. A Call to the West — Letters to His 

Sweetheart 12 

IV. Cholera and Indians 18 

V. The Wedding Journey 33 

VI. Illinois College in the '30's .... 43 

VII. The Slavery Question at Illinois College 52 

VIII. The Close of College Life 60 

IX. The Osage Orange 65 

X. Early Work for Education in Illinois . 70 

XI. Griggsville, May 13, 1850 — "A State Uni- 
versity for the Industrial Classes" . 74 

XII. Granville, November 18, 1851 — The 

Farmers' Move for a State University 95 

XIII. Springfield, June 8, 1852 — ^The First Pro- 

posal OF General Federal Land Grants 105 

XIV. February 8, 1853 — Illinois Petitions Con- 

gress FOR Land-Grant Universities . 112 

XV. The Fight of the Industrial League . 129 
XVI. Letters from Home 144 

XVII. March 20, 1854 — The Illinois Resolution 

Reaches Congress 152 

XVIII. July 2, 1862 — The Morrill Bill — The 
First Civil Bill Signed by President 

Lincoln 157 




XIX. Illinois Delays Acceptance — Extracts 
FROM Letters to the Honorable J. P. 
Reynolds 165 

XX. The Farmers Ask for a Single Univer- 
sity — Industrial Convention, Bloom- 
ington, Illinois, December 4, 1865 . 177 

XXI. The Progress in 1866 — ^A Letter from 
' Ezra Cornell 186 

XXII. College Presidents Organize in Opposi- 
tion 193 

XXIII. The Choice of Champaign 204 

XXIV. Address at the Laying of the Corner- 

stone 216 

XXV. An Address of Dr. Newton Bateman and 

A Letter from J. M. Gregory . . .221 

XXVI. A Petition to the Constitutional Con- 
vention 227 

XXVII. The Hospital for the Insane .... 236 

XXVIII. An Attack on Corporation Abuses . . 244 

XXIX. As Author and Lecturer 254 

XXX. Spiritualism and Mental Telepathy . 268 

XXXI. With President Lincoln in 1862 . . . 271 

XXXII. The Evening of Life ...... 286 

Appendix 295 


This book is, of course, a labor of love; and yet, the needs 
of the student of history have been kept chiefly in mind in 
making it. For this reason, original documents have been 
freely used in it. For the most part, these are printed in full, 
as also are extracts from letters, speeches, and addresses. 

The volume has been delayed year by year by sickness, and 
by the final giving up, by the Turner household, of the house 
where .it was established in 1837. 

At first the plan was to record in a general way the life of 
a man who lived, in thought and action, fifty years before his 
time, and therefore was honored by only the few who could 
appreciate the vigor and unselfishness of the motives that ruled 
his life. 

But as the years passed, and inquiries began to come from 
different people, seeking proof of this or that historical point 
in the life of various interests, — especially in reference to the 
beginning of the Land-Grant Industrial University Movement, 
— it became evident that a biography of deeper importance than 
one of grateful remembrance for friends and relatives must be 

Legal proof for statements must be found, records searched, 
and the whole history of the University Movement written with 
the greatest care. 

Feeling incompetent to do this, I placed the whole subject, 
with all my collection of material, in the hands of the most 
competent to treat it; but professional duties interfered, and 
the documents were returned. The work was finally revised, 
and is printed with confidence in the accuracy and legal proof 
of all its statements. 

The delay has been all the more regretted because of the 



death, before its pubjication, of Bronson Murray, the one true 
friend who, through all the years of doubt and labor, stood 
shoulder to shoulder with Professor Turner, and by word and 
pen, by generous gift of money and true sympathy, had been 
a constant inspiration to him and the University Movement. 
Mr. Murray died January 5, 191 1, in New York City, in the 
ninety-fifth year of his age. On the 20th of December, 1910, 
I called upon him ; he seemed so well then that I little thought 
that I was seeing him for the last time. Although confined to 
his bed, frail in body, and blind, he yet kept his wonderfully 
vigorous mind, and was interested in all questions of the day. 
He said to me then: 

"Another fact you must put in your book. In February, 
1854, the first anti-Nebraska meeting in Illinois was held in 
Springfield, Illinois. I was appointed chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Resolutions; I was not then accustomed to writing 
on political subjects, so I requested your father to write them 
for me, as he had been in the habit of doing in our University 
work, preparing even those artides signed by my own name, 
as President of the Industrial League. 

"1 can see the little room now, and the few men gathered 
there." He hesitated a minute or two, smiled as if the vision 
were pleasing, then added : "For it was a momentous occasion, 
as we al,l well knew. Those resolutions were afterward used in 
preparing the questions for the Lincoln and Douglas debates 
of 1858. 

"We tried tcf induce Mr. Lincoln to attend that meeting, but 
he would not, saying he was not yet ready to identify himself 
with it. He was accused^many times of having been present, 
and once by Douglas in those famous debates ; but Mr. Lincoln 
always denied being there, and he spoke truly, for he was not. 

"A second meeting* was held in Ottawa, La Salle County, 
at that time my home, when I was again appointed on the 

*See "History of La Salle County," pages 262-267, published in 1886 by 
the Inter-State Publishing Company, Chicago. 


Committee of Resolutions, and where sirpilar resolutions were 

"Put that in your book, for it is not well known. Editors 
and publishers were not ambitious for such items at that time." 

Perhaps it was best that the name Industrial University, 
at first selected for the Land-Grant University, given to each 
State and Territory by the generous appropriations of Congress, 
should be changed to the "State University." It certainly was 
not wise to transfer the word "Industrial" to our reformatories, 
in such a way that every boy and girl who, through unfortunate 
heredity or environment, is compelled to go there, is branded 
through life with a term originally of the most honorable sig- 
nificance, but now perverted by usage to a lifelong badge of 

Dr. S. A. Forbes, while Dean of the College of Science of 
the University of Illinois, in a public address used the following 
words : 

"That reaching upward o^ the masses for more power and 
light, spreading eastward, gave us later the long line of land- 
grant colleges, and gives us now the State experimental sta- 
tions also, as a sort of second growth from the seed first sown, 
through recognized acceptance of the natural sciences as a 
necessary part of the course of study in a true people's school. 

"That this fruitful movement arose e^rKer and went further 
here than elsewhere, I attribute to the fact that it had here in 
Professor J. B. Turner an able and devoted leader, who, him- 
self an educated man, had those great human qualities which 
no learning can overlay, and which gave him access to. all 
classes and power with all." 

The "Industrial University Plan" of my father, so far-reach- 
ing, so far-seeing, and whose valtie has been so clearly proved 
by the decades that have passed, may well deserve »the name 
of prophecy. 


I am grateful for the assistance of many friends in the 
preparation of this work ; and in particular I wish to acknowl- 
edge the kindness of the Illinois State Historical Society, to 
which I owe the loan of the cuts of my father and of Gov. 
Richard Yates, which appear in this volume. 

Mary Turner Carriel. 
Jacksonville, Illinois, 

February i, 191 i. 




JONATHAN BALDWIN TURNER was born on a farm 
•^ two miles south of Templeton, Worcester County, Massa- 
chusetts, December 7, 1805. He was a son of Captain Asa 
and Abigail (Baldwin) Turner, being the third son and sixth 
child in a family of four sons and five daughters. He was a 
grandson of Edward Turner, a lieutenant in the Continental 
Army, and, on the maternal side, of Jonathan Baldwin. 

The Baldwin family were descendants of the Baldwins of 
Buckingham, England; in that neighborhood the name was 
to be met with before the Conquest. Jonathan Baldwin was 
the first justice of the peace in his township, and the first Rep- 
resentative elected from that township to the Colonial Legis- 
lature in 1774. He owned a large saw and grist mill, the 
vicinity taking its name from it and being known as Baldwin's 
Mill, It grew into the town now called Baldwinsville. Jona- 
than Baldwin's third child, Abigail (known as "Nabby"), 
married Asa Turner of Templeton, and became the mother of 
Jonathan Baldwin Turner. 

The Turner family was of French or Norman origin, "Le 
Sire de Tourneur" having gone to England with William 
the Conqueror in 1167. His descendant, John Turner, came 
to America in the Speedwell in 1635. The name of Edward 
Turner, grandfather of Jonathan, appears, with the rank of 
sergeant, on the Lexington Alarm Roll, in Captain Joel 
Fletcher's company of Minute-men, Colonel Ephraim Doolit- 
tle's regiment, which marched from Templeton on the alarm 


of April 19, 1775. Later his name appears again, with the 
rank of lieutenant, on the Continental pay account, in Colonel 
Putnam's regiment. 

At the battle of Bunker Hill, when the fire of the English 
was concentrated on the narrow causeway over which the 
American soldiers had to retreat after their ammunition gave 
out, it was Colonel Putnam's regiment that made a heroic 
defense and prevented a disastrous rout. Lieutenant Turner 
sprang upon an embankment and bravely encouraged the sol- 
diers to maintain an orderly retreat. After this battle his 
company was ordered to Saratoga, and witnessed the surrender 
of General Burgoyne. Later the company was sent to Half 
Moon, near Albany, New York, for vaccination, and from the 
effects of this Lieutenant Turner died, December 26, 1777, at 
thirty-three years of age, leaving a widow and seven children 
—six boys and one girL The names of the children were: 
Adam, Lewis, Asa (father of Jonathan), Ellis, Ebenezer, 
Polly, and Amasa. 

His widow cared for the seven little ones in the cabin m 
the forest after their father's death, as she had done when he 
had been called away from home as a soldier. She fed them 
on vegetables and wild berries in the summer, and on dried- 
pea soup in the winter; she protected them from cold and sick- 
ness, from the wild beasts of the forest and the wilder Indians. 
And yet, through a long life, she was never heard to complain, 
or to intimate that her life had not been comfortable and happy. 
Intrepid and fearless, she proved herself a Spartan mother. 

Asa Turner was his mother's helper in the fidd and home. 
One day she told the boy to catch and harness the horse — 3. 
vicious animal. He demurred and pleaded with tears, but in 
vain. He must obey. The horse, which appeared to be quietly 
feeding, never lifted his head until the boy attempted to put 
on the bridle; then he gave a sudden snap and bit a piece of 
flesh out of the boy's leg just below the knee. Antisept'cs 
were not then known, and although Asa Turner lived to be 


eighty-eight years old, the wound never healed. Perhaps for 
this reason, his mother always made her home with him. 

One day, shortly after he had brought his timid young 
bride home, his mother heard a commotion in the kitchen. 
She went to investigate, and found three or four Indians, who, 
thinking no one but the young wife was at home, were de- 
manding that she cook a dinner for them. The mother seized 
a long-handled fire-shovel and started after them, and the 
Indians fled. 

This sturdy woman was never known to be sick, and always 
stood ready to help neighbors and friends. She expired 
(rather than died) at the age of ninety-eight years, at the 
home of her son Asa, the little cabin by that time having given 
place to a large New England farmhouse^ 

After the Revolutionary War there were great hardships 
and much sufifering, especially in western and central Massa- 
chusetts. People began to complain of the large salary paid 
to the Governor, the aristocratic bearing of members of the 
X^egislature, and the refusal to issue paper money to meet the 
necessities of the time. In what is known as "Shays' Rebel- 
lion" (1786-87), under the leadership of Daniel Shays, in 
September, 1786, a regiment of angry citizens took possession 
of several towns, including Worcester, Massachusetts, and pre- 
vented the session of the Supreme Court at Springfield in that 
State. A few months later they attempted to seize the arsenal 
at Springfield, but were defeated by a force of the State militia. 
Asa Turner was a captain in this rebellion, thus revealing a 
characteristic tinge in the blood of his line, which manifested 
itself in resistance to laws they believed to be unjust, no matter 
how unpopular their opinions might be in the minds of persons 
of influence and authority. 



T NTO this farm home upon the hills, with its beautiful view 
across the valley to Gardner and South Gardner, and its 
grand old pine trees, — with its fields rich only in rock and 
stone and the sturdy industry of its owner, to whom the one 
word "shiftless" expressed all the crimes of the social ages, 
where four miles of stone wall were built, and trees were felled 
early and late in the never-ending task of clearing the land, — 
ambition for a different life entered. 

Asa was the brother next older than Jonathan. He was 
the favorite school-teacher in the neighborhood, being noted 
for the rapid progress of his pupils and for his good disci- 
pline. Sometimes he obtained this by giving the little ones 
a ride on his foot while he heard the older classes recite. 
During a revival in the town in which he was teaching, Asa 
became interested in religion. When he returned home he 
tried to interest his father and brothers and sisters, and finally 
he gained his father's permission to begin each day with fam- 
ily prayers — a custom which the father kept up after Asa 
went away to college; for the boy's next request was that he 
be allowed to attend Yale College and afterward the Yale 
Theological Seminary, to prepare for his life work as a mis- 
sionary, to which he had consecrated himself. His record 
later as a missionary and leader in education in the West, 
first at Quincy, Illinois, and, after 1848, at Denmark, Iowa, 
has been most interestingly told in his biography by George 
F. Magoun, President of Grinnell College, Iowa. The fol- 
lowing incident illustrates his character. 

A few y^rs before his death, at the age of eighty-six years, 
the Rev. Asa Turner's niece was traveling on the Upper Mis- 
sissippi River, on her way to Minneapolis, with her babies and 



their nurse. One of the passengers on the boat, an old gen- 
tleman, on hearing that she was a niece of "Father Turner" 
of Iowa, told her this story: 

"When I was a young man on my first trip away from home, 
I happened to reach Burlington, Iowa, then a little village 
with one poor excuse for a tavern, one stormy Saturday night 
in midwinter. Weary, lonely, and homesick, I was sitting 
in the office, parlor, bar-room, — all in one, — ^playing cards, a 
thing I had never done before, to while away the miserable 
hours before bed-time. A man came in, engaged a room to 
stay all night, and immediately went to it. We noticed that 
he was different from the other guests. About nine o'clock 
he returned, with a Bible in his hand, and said: 'Gentlemen, 
it is my custom to have family prayers at night before retiring. 
I am away from home, and lonely, detained unexpectedly over 
Sunday by the bad roads. If you do not object, I would like 
to have prayers with you.' 

"A chorus of answers came, most of them assenting — 'Tune 
up, old man,' 'Go ahead,' 'I'll bet on you,' etc. He seated 
himself in an arm-chair in the middle of the room, opened 
his Bible and began to read. The singing and ribald jest, the 
clinking of glasses at the bar, and the betting at the card- 
tables continued without interruption. After reading a chap- 
ter, the man knelt and prayed, and such a prayer I never heard 
It seemed as if the roof would rise from over our heads, and 
that each individual soul was being carried to the throne of 
grace. The voices were hushed, the glasses ceased to clink, 
the cards lay upon the tables, and every eye was turned to the 
kneeling figure. After the 'Amen' he rose and said, 'I thank 
you, gentlemen; good night,' and disappeared. Not a word 
was said; but soon one, and then another, quietly departed. 
For the first time in the history of that bar-room, it was closed 
before midnight on a Saturday night. Probably many there 
were, as I was, young men away from Christian homes, in 
danger of forgetting. That prayer took us home." 


It was the wish of the family that Jonathan should remain 
on the home place. To encourage him to do this, his father 
gave him, when he was twenty-one years old, a deed to all 
the property. In 1827 Asa, who had graduated from Yale 
College and had just entered the Theological Seminary of 
Yale, walked all the way home and back, two hundred and 
forty miles, — starting out with only sixty cents, — in order to 
persuade his father to let Jonathan attend Yale College. The 
mother added her persuasive voice, and the father's consent 
changed the whole course of Jonathan's life. At the age of 
twenty-two he entered college. 

Jonathan was a strong and vigorous youth. His feats of 
strength and endurance were the pride of the family, as well as 
of his class, afterward, at Yale. The money he had earned by 
teaching in the winter seasons ever since he was fifteen years 
of age, and by working for neighbors when his labor was not 
needed at home, had always been turned into the family treas- 
ury. But his brother Asa — who had received from his father 
ten dollars in money and a "God bless you" when he carried 
Asa to college in a one-horse buggy — had found no difficulty 
in earning his way, and now Jonathan followed his example, 
working in gardens and sawing wood. 

Ex-President Dwight's sons, Sereno and Henry, had re- 
cently returned from Europe, full of the German gymnasium 
idea (the Germans use the word to describe a preparatory 
school, not an athletic hall). Through their influence, the first 
gymnasium school in America was organized, in connection 
with Yale College. Jonathan was appointed an instructor in 
primary studies and in athletics. The New Haven Harbor 
was the boys' swimming-pool, and their favorite lesson a swim 
far out into its waters. For two years Jonathan remained in 
this work, at the same time continuing his preparatory course 
for entering Yale College. The stone huilding purchased by 
subscribers for use as a gymnasium was a mile from the col- 
lege and near the center of the town, and commanded a fine 


view of the harbor, the Sound, and Long Island. We read 
in the Yale catalogues of that day, in reference to the location 
of New Haven: "The town is very accessible, being within 
eight hours' travel from New York, and within twenty-four 
from Boston, Albany, and Philadelphia, and it has a direct 
and easy communication with every part of the United States." 
The pupils, the greater number of whom were between six 
and fourteen years of age, were allowed to remain at the gym- 
nasium all the year round. Jonathan had under his care and 
training about eighty boys, most of whom were from the 

During his senior year in the Preparatory Department, in 
1829, a temperance wave swept over the land, and awakened 
great interest among the students and instructors of Yale. 
At that time liquor was used almost universally. President 
Dwight had managed a "grocery" (saloon), for the benefit 
of the students, in the college building itself. Many "drunks" 
had been traceable to that source, and it became so notorious 
that the trustees tried to abolish it, but were unable to do so 
while President Dwight remained. With the advent of Presi- 
dent Day, however, the students' "grocery" disappeared. 

The Turner family home in Templeton had always been a 
social center, especially for the ministers and deacons who 
enjoyed Captain Turner's conversation, but who enjoyed more 
the "flip" which he used to make before the great fireplace 
and served to his guests. Jonathan's part in the entertain- 
ment had been, at the close of these social evenings, to steer 
the guests through the gate to the middle of the road, from 
where they were expected to navigate safely to their own fire- 
sides. That the minister was one of the most frequent guests 
on these occasions did not lessen the respect and reverence 
which the presence and preaching of New England clergymen 
always inspired. 

During his preparatory course Jonathan lived in the same 
house with two notable instructors of foreign birth, having 


a room directly over a suite occupied by them, and he formed 
an intimate acquaintance and lasting friendship with these 
neighbors. One was Charles A. Colomb, A.M., who had been 
for many years aide-de-camp to Napoleon Bonaparte, and had 
participated in two hundred engagements with him. After 
Napoleon's downfall he had been banished because of his de- 
votion to his chief, whom he idolized as something more than 
human. Of large stature and great physical strength, Colomb 
was a perfect specimen of the chivalrous gentleman, and noth- 
ing aroused his resentment so much as any allusion to the 
faults and failings of the man whom he adored. The other 
neighbor was the instructor in Spanish, Joseph A. Pizarro, 
A.M., who was also a man with a history. He, too, had been 
a soldier for many years, and had been exiled from his native 
land because of his devotion to a lost cause. At the battle of 
Corunna he and the French teacher had fought on opposite 
sides; but, like true soldiers, they became warm friends and 
close companions in the land of their exile. Both of them 
crippled and somewhat broken in health, they were yet able 
to continue their teaching of French and Spanish in the t)wight 
Gymnasium. Both came from families of wealth, and their 
relatives and friends in France and Spain often sent them gifts 
— ^pipes of wine and brandy, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, 
clothing — in fact, anything that could be safely shipped across 
the Atlantic. 

Jonathan went on errands for these men, and helped them 
in many ways, and he was often invited to share their foreign 
dainties. The question of danger from the use of liquor had 
never occurred to him. When the temperance wave reached 
Yale, however, he became convinced that its advocates were 
right, and that he ought to make a decision one way or the 
other. The great struggle was to tell his two old friends that 
he thought it dangerous, or even unwise,^ to follow their ex- 
ample, and thus refuse to join them in their social glass ; for 
it had been his greatest delight to listen to their stories, as 


they fought over again, as friends, the battles in which, as 
enemies, they had confronted each other. 

One Saturday Jonathan went out into the woods, cUmbed 
a high knoll overlooking the Sound, and wrestled all day with 
the problem. At night, drenched by a cold, drizzling rain, 
hungry and weary, he returned to his room. At the usual hour 
he went down to wait upon his friends ; but, when they offered 
him a glass of liquor, he thanked them and said he would 
not take any. They at once understood, and never afterward 
offered him wine or liquor of any kind; but, by their gentle 
manner and kindness even greater than before, they showed 
that they knew of his struggle, and appreciated and approved 
of his decision. 

When he had completed his preparatory course, Jonathan 
entered the Classical Department of Yale College. He ranked 
well in his studies, and took a number of prizes in English 
composition and Greek. At one time, having received word 
that his mother was very ill, he walked one hundred and twenty 
miles to his home to see her, and, when she grew better, re- 
turned in the same way. 

Yale College, always a stronghold of classical culture, was 
especially so at that time. President Barnard, of Columbia 
College, in his annual report of 1872, speaking, from personal 
knowledge, of the conditions that existed at Yale College be- 
tween 1820 and 1830, says: 

"The amount of classical reading in those days was vastly 
greater than it is at present. In them was accomplished all of 
the two large volumes of Dalzel's 'Gr£Eca Majora,' embracing 
Xenophon's 'Anabasis' and 'Memorabilia,' with liberal extracts 
from Herodotus, Thucydides, J^ucian, and Socrates; Plato, 
Aristotle, and Longinus, and the poets, Sophocles and Euripi- 
des. To these were added several books of Homer's 'Iliad' 
and the oration of Demosthenes 'On the Crown.' In Latin, 
the reading embraced eight books of Livy's History, the en- 
tire volume of the poetical works of Horace, including the 


'Odes,' 'Satires,' 'Epistles,' and 'The Art of Poetry' ; Cicero's 
'De Officilis,' 'De Senectute,' 'De Amicitia,' 'De Oratore,' and 
'De Republica'; and, finally, Tacitus' 'Historiae,' 'Agricola,' 
and 'De Moribus Germanorum.' Besides these, the whole of 
Adam's 'Roman Antiquities' was read from cover to cover." 
An extract from one of Jonathan's letters to his sister Dul- 
cina illustrates the spirit of the student while attending Yale 
College : 

"New Haven, April lo, 183 1. 
"Dear Sister: 

"I received a letter from Asa, and one from Edward [his 
youngest brother] to-day. Asa is .as well as usual, thinks 
much of his wife, says she is quite a worker, makes all his 
butter, etc., etc.* Pray go and see Mother, and tell me the 
particulars about her. Give my love to her, and tell her if I 
come home it will be on her account, as nothing else would 
induce me to meet the expense until fall. If she says come, 
I will come. Tell her to be plain and her son Jonathan will 
obey with the greatest pleasure. She must let me know soon. 
I can spend the vacation free from expense. The cost of going 
to Templeton will be twelve dollars, as I am unable to walk. 
Also, if I come this spring, they must not expect me again in 
the fall. You must pardon my poor writing. I have lost much 
sleep of late; have been up with the sick all night, and my 
nerves are weak. Much love to all, especially to you and our 
dear Mother and Father. 

"Jonathan B. Turner." 

After the summer vacation of 1832, Jonathan returned to 
Yale to enter upon his senior year, riding in a stage-coach all 
the way from his home to New Haven. He was sitting on 

♦Asa's wife, who came from a wealthy family of Hartford, Connecticut, 
had gone as a young bride to the wilds of Illinois, and was now wife of a 
home missionary, on the munificent salary of two hundred and fifty dol- 
lars a year. 


the back seat of the coach, half asleep, when four fun-loving 
girls got in at Springfield, Massachusetts, to ride to Somers, 
Connecticut. One of these, who seemed to be the leader in 
fun and frolic, thinking he was asleep, began to imitate him 
and make him a subject of entertainment for her companions. 
He watched her out of the corner of his eye, and, when the 
stage stopped at the hotel in Somers, he went in, after the girls 
had left, and inquired who she might be. A few days after 
his return to Yale he wrote to her. Her friends were not so 
romantic as was he, and demanded to know who and what 
he was. In answer to one of these inquiries by letter, the fol- 
lowing was received by a friend of her family: 

"Yale College, November i6, 1832. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I have but little acquaintance with Jonathan B. Turner. 
I find, however, by inquiring of President Day, that he sus- 
tains in all respects a desirable character — as a Christian, ex- 
emplary and pipus; as a scholar, among the first in his class. 
"There are probably very few young men in whom there is 
more reason to confide or to hope for in the future life. 

"Yours respectfully, 

"N. W. Taylor." 

As a result of this correspondence, the young lady, who 
was Miss Rhodolphia S. Kibbe, a few years later accompanied 
the subject of this biography to the Far West as his bride. 



ONE night in February, 1827, a band of Yale students, 
standing on the campus of their alma mater, beneath 
the beautiful elm trees, with only the stars above them as 
their witnesses, pledged themselves to go to Illinois as mis- 
sionaries. Illinois in those days was less known and less ac- 
cessible than the foreign fields of Asia, to which a neighbor's 
son and play-mate of the Turner brothers, the Rev. William 
Goodell, had recently gone. The. seven who formed this asso- 
ciation, pledged to promote "religion and learning" in the 
West, were : Theron Baldwin, John F. Brooks, Elisha Jenny, 
Mason Grosvenor, William Kirby, Julian M. Sturtevant, and 
Asa Turner. Later these seven, with three others, became the 
first trustees of Illinois College, at Jacksonville, Illinois, which 
was organized through their efforts. This and two other col- 
leges were the first incorporated institutions west of the AUe- 

In the winter of 1832-33, Jonathan's senior year as a student 
at Yale, Dr. Edward Beecher, President of Illinois College, 
wrote to Jeremiah Day, President of Yale College, asking that 
he send him a teacher whom he could recommend as a future 
professor. President Day spoke to Jonathan, offering to ex- 
cuse him from all examinations and his commencement oration, 
and to send him his diploma when his classmates received 
theirs at the end of the term. So the course of Jonathan's 
career was again changed, and the rest of his life was devoted 
to the "Great Northwest." His duties at Illinois College be- 
gan in the spring of 1833. On the journey West he wrote 
several letters to Miss Rhodolphia Kibbe in Connecticut, the 
first from New York. 



"Washington Hotel, New York, 
"April 10, 1833. 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"... Called on my brother and sister. Next morning 
I took stage for Yale, and Tuesday last, as I unclasped the 
warm hand of my friend Sykes on board of the Superior, I 
broke the last tie that bound me to New England." 

"Baltimore, Maryland. 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"You see by the last date my march is still onward. I left 
New York at six o'clock yesterday (Friday) morning, and, 
by the aid of coaches, steamboats, railroads, locomotives, etc., 
arrived at Philadelphia last evening. Left at six this morning, 
and by the same magic power of steam I am here at Baltimore 
at five o'clock this evening, two hundred miles distant. Our 
company from New York has consisted of about two hundred 
persons. All rode to-day by land in one chain of cars drawn 
by a single engine at the rate of one mile in three minutes, 
averaging through the day fifteen miles per hour. Our ride 
down the Delaware and Chesapeake was delightful — ^trees in 
abundance and all in full bloom. I believe a trip to Baltimore 
would thoroughly cure you of your predilection for the banks 
of the Connecticut. Our watchword is still 'Onward,' and we 
move again on Monday at six a.m. for Fredericksburg, Va., 
by steam (railroad), and if we fly as we have done yesterday 
and to-day we shall get through in two or three weeks from 
date. My brother's youngest child, however, is dangerously 
ill, and we may be detained here; but we shall start as soon 
as possible, for these hotels, especially in a land of slaves (and 
they are for the first time about me), do not tally so well with 
purses 'lean and lank' like Pharaoh's kine — at least, if we pay, 
as at our last quarters, one dollar per meal and one dollar for 
single bed, etc. But never mind, I am rich yet, and if I am 
not, the Lord feeds the poor. Some wiseacre may doubt, how- 


ever, whether he feeds the prodigal — and I am not quite so 
sure of it. I have scarce walked a mile since I left New Haven 
but that I have met a coachman, a servant, a shoe-black, or a 
slave, with his hat in hand, bowing and scraping for 'fees,' 
'fees,' 'fees'; and one must fee the poor devils for their ob- 
sequiousness, if for nothing else." 

"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"I would like to place you on board of one of these floating 
volcanoes of the nineteenth century [the steamboat] and glide 
you over the silent waters of the Ohio — the 'Beautiful River,' 
say the French, and say truly : so full of little islands covered 
with luxuriant foliage, and so circuitous is it in its course, 
that you can seldom see more than five or ten miles either way. 
Not unfrequently you ride for hours through an unbroken 
forest. Then we came to Cincinnati, the far-famed emporium 
of the great valley, an anomaly in nature, a city of six thousand 
inhabitants surrounded on all sides by a dense and apparently 
unbroken forest. Here I called on Dr. Lyman Beecher, and 
left Miss Patton ; the Doctor's son, my old and well-tried friend 
George, gave me a most hearty reception. In the morning we 
mounted a couple of fine steeds and galloped into the country, 
passing the site of Lane Seminary, a most delightful and ro- 
mantic spot indeed. The banks of the Ohio are much the same 
below Cincinnati as above, except not so many villages; they 
are not generally so beautiful as those of the Mississippi, whose 
waters are more turbid and rapid, but intersected more fre- 
quently with beautiful islands and presenting a still greater 
diversity of scenery on the banks. I might write a sheet or 
two of little incidents and the numerous inconveniences, bad 
food, dirty sheets, etc., inseparable from so long a tarry in the 
public vehicle. Once we ran our boat upon a rock, and once 
upon a sandbar, and were obliged to throw out about one hun- 
dred tons of freight to lighten her each time, and then were 
detained a day or two to refit, and now we reach Jacksonville." 


Jonathan Turner arrived at Illinois College May 8, 1833, 
and a few days later he wrote the following letter to Miss 

"Illinois College, May 14, 1833. . 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"I am sitting in my domicile in the east side of a spacious 
brick edifice and daily surrounded by all the conveniences and 
luxuries, too, of the sumptuous East." 

(The rosy hue here pictured of the new Western surround- 
ings, it was no doubt hoped, would reach to the New England 
home and touch the sweetheart's mother with its glow; for a 
young man in the wilds of Illinois presented an entirely dif- 
ferent aspect from that of a young man winning high honors 
at Yale, and expected to fill some position of honor nearer 
home. ) 

"For a general description of the society here I will refer 
you to the papers which I shall, from time to time, send you, 
with your permission, barely observing that you cannot find 
a village east of the Hudson, of the same number of inhabitants, 
possessing so many men of literary eminence and moral worth, 
nor a community of greater refinement in taste and manners. 
... I arrived here on the 8th of May (Saturday), and 
found the institution in a flourishing condition. The faculty 
consists at present of five members : President Beecher, Messrs. 
Sturtevant, Post, Colton, and myself. The two former and 
their ladies are exceedingly agreeable. 

"I have become strongly attached to President Beecher. He 
is about two years older than myself. Our spare hour for 
exercise is usually spent in talking, walking, or swinging.* He 
is surely a most lovable man. Mr. Sturtevant is equally worthy, 
and perhaps more so, but not quite so much like myself in his 
taste and feelings. Their ladies, I would again say, are lovely 
women; all seem to exert themselves to make me contented 

♦Swings were the only apparatus for athletic contests in those days, 
and the grove west of the college their only gymnasium. 


and happy. I hear recitations at present from three to five 
hours per day in Latin and Greek, and study from three to 
ten hours. We have about three hundred acres of superior 
soil, sixty or seventy acres of which the boys and our farmer 
have planted with corn this spring. It looks beautifully now, 
as it is about knee-high. Often you will see one hundred acres 
in one field. Apple trees were in full bloom as we passed along 
April 2oth. 

"Hundreds of people pass through here from the East and 
from Europe every year, and all say it is indeed the most de- 
lightful spot on earth, especially the sight from the college 
buildings. But I must forbear, and refer you to Mr. William 
Peters' letters in the New York Observer, I think, in February 
or March last. I will only add, when you hear 'a different 
story,' you must remember Illinois is a great State, as large 
almost as all New England. Of course, some parts of it are 
most wretchedly poor, unhealthful, and unpleasant, especially 
the southern forests on the banks of the Mississippi. . . . 

"By the way, I have passed through and alongside of six- 
teen or seventeen different States of the Union, and I know 
of no one equal to old New England, except it be those which 
abound in prairies. I would not clear a farm in Ohio, Indiana, 
or Kentucky, if you would give me twice its value. You think 
it a great distance here, I suppose, but it is only a mere step. 
It is nothing to come over here or to return, and had I a little 
more cash and time, I assure you it would delight my heart 
to ride over and take tea with you some afternoon. My secre- 
tary, books, clothes, etc., I shipped via New Orleans ; they have 
not yet come, and may not ; but I obtained an insurance upon 
them of about three hundred dollars, so that I shall not incur 
much loss if they are not delivered. My health is at present 
very fine, and I am able to devote myself with more than usual 
energy to the duties of my profession and studies. 

"I have written as fast as I could since ten o'clock, and since 
I must rise to hear a Latin recitation at five, I must bid you 


good night — or, rather, good morning. The young ladies who 
came out with us are delighted with their situation here. Miss 
Crocker has opened a female seminary and Miss Blood an in- 
fant school. Both are experienced and approved teachers, as 
well as amiable and interesting girls. And now I can only 
commend you and yours to Him who careth for you. May 
He guide you and me in all our ways, and, however unworthy, 
may we at last be received into His beloved presence, where 
is fullness of joy for evermore. This is the daily prayer of 
your absent friend, who still rejoices that he is not forgotten 
by you. 

"J. B. Turner." 



JACKSONVILLE, the little village of a thousand people, 
*^ was one mile east of Illinois College. In its center was a 
park, around which ran a wide street. A street ran north, 
south, east, and west from the center of each side, and two 
narrower streets at right angles to each other from each corner 
of the square. 

The original settlers had hoped to locate the town on the 
beautiful mound to the west, but the owners of the land would 
neither give nor sell; so the land sloping down for miles on 
that side gave the village the appearance of nestling in a hollow. 

Morgan Street ran west from the southwest corner of the 
square, and was the aristocratic street of the village ; here were 
built all the better houses, and later the Episcopal church and 
the "Female Academy" were located there. 

The only avenue was College Avenue, one block south of 
Morgan Street and parallel to it, leading straight to the college 
grounds. Little houses, most of them built of logs, were scat- 
tered sparsely about the village. There were no sidewalks, 
only a footpath over the prairie, which was grassy and beauti- 
ful in the summer, but for part of the year deep with mud, 
especially the ravine between the college and the village, which 
was sometimes almost impassable to a man on foot, even when 
he wore hip-boots. 

But these discomforts were more than compensated for by 
the extensive view. There were no trees to obstruct this, ex- 
cept two or three on College Avenue and two more to the south- 

The land from College Hill sloped far away north, south, 
and east over the prairie, with its tall, waving grass and beau- 
tiful flowers in summer, and its equally beautiful mantle of 



snow in winter, to the distant timber which followed the wind- 
ings of the Mauvaisterre Creek. A few years later the Acad- 
emy girls, promenading on their new front porch, could see 
Governor Duncan's mansion in Duncan Park, and, on the op- 
posite side of the street, the little schoolhouse he built for the 
College Hill children. 

A little more than two months after Professor Turner's 
arrival in Jacksonville, that place and a number of other Illi- 
nois towns were swept by a cholera epidemic, which resulted 
in much suffering and many deaths among the pioneer popula- 
tion. The appalling conditions produced by this visitation are 
graphically described in the following letters, which impart 
knowledge of a calamity of which few people of the present 
day have had any conception. 

"Illinois College, July 15, 1833. 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

" . . . As to the Indians, I fear them about as much 
(though not quite as much) as I should the mosquitoes in 
Broadway, New York City. There are men and arms enough 
in Jacksonville to shoot every Indian west of the Alleghanies. 
They dare not come within a hundred miles of us without an 
olive branch in their hands and peace in their hearts. As to 
the cholera, this is a more insidious and dangerous foe. It 
has almost depopulated some villages on the Mississippi River, 
as you have probably learned. In Quincy, a village of about 
seven hundred people, where my brother Asa is stationed, 
twenty-two have died, fourteen of them in about four days. 
It cuts down, almost instantly, the most robust and temperate 
as well as the feeble. Of course, there can be no security, only 
to meet and trust God forever. It is no longer confined to 
the intemperate; it sweeps all indiscriminately to the tomb by 
the hundred. Carrollton, a village of seven hundred inhab- 
itants about sixty miles south of here, has already been re- 
duced, by flight and death, to about seventy or eighty souls. 


It has been even more terrible than it was in New York last 
season. We hope it will not sweep over Jacksonville; there 
has been but one death since last Saturday. We expect it will 
prevail extensively in the city, but do not expect it will rage 
on College Hill, at least not violently, owing to its peculiar ele- 
vated, airy, and healthful situation. ..." 

"Jacksonville, August 28, 1833. 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"Soon after I wrote you, the cholera, that awful scourge of 
humanity, commenced its ravages in this place. It had been 
for a long time skirmishing on our borders. One sixth of 
the entire population in Carroll ton (next county south) had 
died, one fifth of the population in Palmyra, one fifteenth of 
that in Quincy, etc. 

"At last, although from our healthy location we hoped to 
escape, it came down upon us like a thunder-clap. Mrs. Ellis, 
wife of the Presbyterian minister, Rev. John M. Ellis, a lady 
of rare accomplishment, was taken sick one afternoon, and 
died before six o'clock. She had two little children; one was 
taken at one o'clock that same night, and died before morning; 
the other, and a niece. Miss Conn, a beautiful young girl of 
eighteen, died soon after. Mr. Ellis was away at the time, 
and when he returned he stopped at the church to attend prayer 
meeting before going to his home. As he entered the door 
he heard a friend praying for their 'stricken pastor so suddenly 
bereft of all his family.' He fell to the floor as if he had been 
struck by a butcher's ax. Immediately after this, forty-seven 
families, and as many single persons as could leave, fled. 

"Shops are closed, streets deserted, and 'every human face 
divine' overcast with gloom or bedewed with grief. This in- 
creased our grief much. It was impossible to procure help, 
even to cook, much less to nurse. The people in the village 
were so frightened that the students were obliged to take the 
whole care of the Ellis family, with the help of a poor old 


aunt who could scarce crawl from watching and sorrow. Not 
a single person could be found to enter the house, even to put 
the last one who died, the niece, into her coffin. One truly 
noble-minded student on the Hill, Mr. George T. Purkitt, in 
spite of etiquette and town gab, went through the whole ordeal 
alone with the old aunt. What else could they do? Though 
many of the students were made sick, and one most excellent 
young man. Nelson of the freshman class, died, the rest have 
all recovered. 

"From this time the daily yea, the hourly report, was 'He 
is sick,' 'He is dead,' 'He is buried.' To meet a man at night 
and attend his funeral in the morning has ceased to alarm, 
much less to surprise. Some die in three hours, seldom do they 
live twelve, and very rarely twenty-four. As I have walked 
through the streets in the evening, I have seen through the 
windows and doors the sick and the dying, sometimes four or 
five in the same room in a log hut, some on the bed, others on 
the floor, and perhaps one or two sorrow-smitten beings crawl- 
ing from bed to bed to give a cup of water or to brush away 
the flies. On every face was written 'Woe,' and on every door- 
post 'Death,' and on not a few 'Utter desolation.' Notwith- 
standing our village was reduced by flight and otherwise to 
about six or seven hundred, as was supposed, they have been 
dying off through the whole month of August at the rate of 
one, two, three, four, five, and even six a day. Soon the dis- 
ease began to spread into the country, where, from the thin- 
ness of the population, distance from medical aid, want of 
conveniences and often the bare necessities of life, it was still 
more distressing. For some weeks not a soul was seen ap- 
proaching from the country, except here and there a man on 
a horse upon the full run for 'The doctor! The doctor! For 
Heaven's sake, sir, can't you tell me where is the doctor? My 
father is dying, my wife is dead, and my children are dying. 
The doctor! The doctor!' All this came to be answered at 
last by a stupid stare, or a shake of the head, or perchance. 


'They are all sick.' For, at one time, out of eight or ten doc- 
tors not one could be had. Only one, however, died — Dr. Al- 
len, my much-beloved friend and room-mate at the gymnasium 
, in New Haven, who came out here to see the country with his 
lady, whom he married two years since. 

"A week or two since I took a bronco and rode out to Naples, 
twenty miles west, to take a little rest and fresh air. Nothing 
could exceed the beauty of the prairies ; they are in many places 
covered with tall prairie-grass, variegated with flowers of every 
size, shape, odor, and hue, from one to six feet high. It looks 
like enchanted ground. But what a contrast within doors! 
Cholera, cholera — death, death. In a settlement on the way, 
called Bethel, I saw a man shoeing a horse, when I rode out 
in the evening. Next morning, when I returned, they had dug 
his grave and were placing him in it. I called at the tavern. 
The landlord was dead, the family sick. I had lost my way, 
and called to inquire; but found some sick, some dead. The 
poor people here think the disease is contagious, and dare not 
go into an infected house. They are often struck down at 
once, like an ox under a butcher's ax. A man and his wife 
sank upon the floor of their log hut, unable to reach the bed, 
or to give each other a drop of water ; the man was found dead. 
A woman, whose husband had died, was found lying dead on 
her bed, where she had been two days, and her two little sons 
were trying to dig a hole in front of the house to put her in. 
Instances have occurred of whole families leaving the house 
and suffering their diseased friend to die alone. 

"There are many heartrending tales of this sort in circula- 
tion. But in the midst of judgments the Lord has remembered 
mercy to us on College Hill. We sent off all the students we 
could at first; the rest began to sicken. All our female do- 
mestics except one, an excellent old maid, fled. Of course, we 
gentlemen professors, as we are sometimes called, gave up 
Latin and Greek, and turned cooks, bottle-washers, etc. The 
college was a perfect hospital for more than two weeks. We 


required ten watchers every night, though there was not twice 
that number of well persons on the Hill. I was up about every 
other night for some weeks. . . . One night a student who had 
been watching was taken violently sick and sent immediately 
for the doctor. They were all sick. One, however, sent back 
some medicine and requested me to administer it. I was up 
with him alone in the fifth story all night ; I thought he would 
die. His hands shriveled, his eyes sunk, and his limbs became 
cold in less than an hour. I thought he was gone. 'I will 
either kill or cure him at once,' I said, and I doubled and shortly 
after quadrupled the ordinary dose. I gave him about one hun- 
dred and fifty drops of laudanum, two tablespoonfuls of strong- 
est tincture of red pepper in pure alcohol, and two glasses of 
brandy. This threw him into a perspiration, and, by repeating 
it once an hour, broke up the disease. Calomel has been tried 
here, but usually proves fatal. If the disease comes in your 
region, take laudanum and pepper; drink it by the spoonful. 
It is astonishing how much the disease requires. When this 
has been administered at once, the patients have more generally 
recovered; but an hour's delay would in most cases be fatal. 
Here in the West, however, the disease is different ; especially 
in one respect, there are no premonitory symptoms, often ; also, 
the most temperate as well as the drunken and worthless are 

"I have sent you no papers and letters lately, for the former 
were so full of cholera and nothing else that I did not wish to 
alarm you until it was all over and I could tell the whole story ; 
the papers, by the way, do not tell more than half of it. Doubt- 
less more than one tenth of the present population have died 
since I came here; that is, more than one hundred persons. 
But this does not prove the place unhealthful — ^not at all ; for 
what place or people are healthy or safe, when God sees fit to 
scourge them with the cholera? But my trust is in Him. I 
have gone along, perfectly cheerful and content; my trust, I 
hope, is in Him alone, not regarding the disease so much as 


to change or restrict my diet in the least. The woods have 
been full of blackberries, which the people were forbidden by 
ordinance to eat. I had to have something, as there were not 
enough well people to cook for the living, so used to go at 
night, when I could, and eat all I wished. I am sure they 
helped me ; and now the woods are full of plums of all kinds. 
Twelve persons gathered twelve bushels in about three hours 
ithe other day; also the fields are full of melons as large as 
pumpkins, which none dare eat except Post and myself, hence 
we live well. One o'clock in the evening, and my horse, sad- 
dle, bridle, and pistols are all ready for the morning. No letters 
in the office to-night. Sorry, sorry indeed! 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

The summer vacation was almost spent, and there had been 
no relief from care and intense anxiety. Seeking a change 
from a life so trying, three of the Illinois College professors 
planned a horseback trip to Chicago. 

"Illinois College, September 28, 1833. 

"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"On August 28 Professors T. M. Post, Erastus Colton, and 
I decided to make an exploring tour on horseback, and see if 
we could not find some relief from the terrible experiences of 
the cholera epidemic through which we have just passed. We 
rode to Quincy to visit my brother Asa, who is pastor of the 
Congregational church he has organized, hoping also to find 
some one going to Chicago who would guide us there. At 
Quincy we heard that a party was going from Galesburg, and 
so we pushed on ;o that place, where we found a band of Pot- 
tawatomie Indians, who were going to attend the giving up 
of their land at Chicago to the government. They, through 


an interpreter, allowed us to go with them. We started in 
true Indian style, the young chief and braves first, older men 
next, followed by the squaws and their pappooses with their 
ponies and camping outfit, and we last of all. In single file 
we rode through the tall prairie-grass, in many places higher 
than our heads while we were on horseback, through the thea- 
ter of the last season's Indian war to Lake Michigan. We 
were not altogether comfortable with our strange traveling 
companions, for the Indians were not well pleased with the 
idea of giving up their land at Chicago. But they treated us 
well, and the novelty of the proceedings made it interesting. 
Suddenly, \vhen about fifty miles from Chicago, the young 
chief in front snatched up his gun, cocked it, and said some- 
thing over his shoulder to the one immediately behind him, and 
so went the word down the whole line, the excitement growing 
as the guns clicked, clicked. We were alarmed, as we had 
seen nothing and could see nothing to cause the sudden ex- 
citement. Professor Colton was sure they intended to murder 
us, and wanted us to put spurs to our horses and at least make 
an attempt to escape ; they had gotten us far out on the prairie 
and intended to wreak their vengeance on us, the only whites 
within reach. But Professor Post and I persuaded him that 
would be foolish; we could not possibly escape in a race, for 
their horses were tougher and fresher than ours. We had bet- 
ter watch and try some other way, if they really intended to 
kill us. By this time the squaws and children were equally 
excited, all jabbering at once. Not a thing could we under- 
stand, and not a word from us could they understand. Soon, 
however, we noticed they were not looking at us, but far away 
to the south. By rising in my stirrups and looking in the same 
direction, I saw a deer bounding over the high grass. The 
chief left the line and started after him. 

"When we reached Chicago I told the Indian agent there 
of the incident, and said surely he could not get the deer. 'Yes, 
he will ; he will follow him for days, and never leave the trail 


until he catches him.' And, sure enough, in two days he 
came in with the deer slung over the pony's back in front of 

"On the lake shore were assembled about eight thousand 
Indians, decorated with paint and wampum, armed with rifles, 
tomahawks, bows and arrows, war-clubs, scalping-knives, etc. 
Their squaws were armed with pappooses on their backs, and 
sometimes were decorated with ragged blankets; some, how- 
ever, were dressed very fine. 

"The next day, after the sale had been completed, the place 
was filled with drunken Indians, in all stages of helplessness, 
and all wanting to fight. Under the influence of liquor, the 
Frenchman dances, the Italian sings, the American talks, and 
the Irishman and Indian want to fight. When dangerously 
drunk, the squaws would gather about them, throw them down, 
and sit upon their backs — often an unsteady and rocking seat. 
Three heavy squaws were sometimes sitting on one squirming, 
yelling Indian. I became frightened ; I had heard how revenge- 
ful an Indian was, what little regard he had for his squaws. 
I thought, when they came to themselves and found their 
squaws had been sitting on their backs, there would be a ter- 
rible massacre, and so I told the Indian agent my fears. 'You 
must be a tenderfoot,' he said. 'An Indian is always grateful 
to any one who restrains him when he is drunk; but let any 
one try it when he is not, and he will follow them as long as 
he lives to take his revenge.' This proved to be true. When 
they awoke from their drunken sleep, all was peaceful and 

(Chicago is noted for its rapid growth and wonderful rise 
in real estate, but the greatest rise recorded in history was 
in August, 1833.) 

"One day the land was bought for three cents per acre, and 
the next day it was sold for one hundred dollars per squire to 
the whites. We bantered each other to buy, for there was 
never a more unpromising location for a city than the low 


marshy ground of Chicago in 1833. We bought one squire 
of land.* 

"Our ride from Chicago to Jacksonville was very trying; 
in fact, our whole exploring tour on the frontier settlements 
proved exceedingly tedious. We were worn out with nursing 
and were in no fit condition to take such a long and hard horse- 
back tour. We rode from twenty to fifty miles per day every 
day — excepting the few days we were in Chicago — from Au- 
gust 28 to September 26, embracing a distance of from six 
to eight hundred miles through an unsettled region, most of 
it entirely destitute of roads and bridges, often twenty to thirty 
miles from one cabin to another, and generally from ten to 
twelve miles. So, you see, we were obliged to make roads for 
ourselves. Often we found ourselves galloping across an im- 
mense prairie covered with the most beautiful grass and flow- 
ers, sometimes as high as our heads, and of every hue and 
color under heaven. Anon we were in an almost impassable 
forest, or a mud-hole up to our horses' bellies, or plunging 
into the rapid current of the Illinois River. Sometimes we 
would lose our course and have to ride until twelve or one 
o'clock at night, then throw down our saddles for pillows and 
with the hewn logs of the hunter's cabin for a bed and our 
cloaks for our only covering. In the morning we ate with 
the backwoodsman his simple bread and water. We were 
obliged to lodge thus more than half the time we were away. 

♦This land that they bought was near where the College of Law of the 
Northwestern University now stands, at the southeast corner of Randolph 
and Dearborn streets. In later years they sold it for ten thousand dollars 
and thought they had done well, but it is now worth millions. At the 
time of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, in Chicago, Professor Turner, 
then in his eighty-eighth year, visited the Indian Department and talked 
with Poganon, the son of the Pottawatomie chief who had so unwillingly 
sold his heritage to the United States government in 1833, and learned that 
the land upon which Chicago and the beautiful "Dream City" then stood 
had never been paid for, even at the rate of three cents per acre. On his 
return home, Professor Turner wrote this fact to Rejjresentative William 
M. Springer and Senator Shelby M. Cullom at Washington, urging them 
to redeem the fair name of Illinois from such injustice and shame. This 
they did, and the next Congress appropriated the sum, which, with all its 
accrued interest, amounted to only a little over five thousand dollars. 


A fine way, you will say, to recover from the exhaustion and 
fatigue of the cholera season. When I left Jacksonville I hoped 
I was done with nursing and doctoring, for a time at least; 
but, after two or three days out from Chicago, I was obliged 
to nurse both companions most of the way home. Professor 
Colton twice gave out entirely, saying he could not go another 
rod,' if he died on the prairie. 

"I am busy now preparing for commencement next Wednes- 
day, correcting compositions, drilling the seniors, and writing 
for the Patriot, etc. ; and, with the groans of Professors Post 
and Colton in my ears, I bid you good night to camp down 
on the floor, napping with my ears open to their calls. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner.^' 

Before deciding a momentous question. Professor Turner 
consulted the wishes of Miss Kibbe : 

"Illinois College, November, 1833. 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"... I have just received an invitation to join in an ex- 
pedition over the Rocky Mountains to explore the country of 
the Flat Head Indians. Said expedition is to consist of ten 
men, if so many of sufficient intelligence, enterprise, and hardi- 
hood can be found. You are probably aware of the fact that 
four of this tribe came to St. Louis, a distance of four thou- 
sand miles, on foot, to hear of our religion. It has long been 
thought desirable to explore that region, but as yet little has 
been done, except by the government as related in the 'Journal 
of Lewis & Clark.' Now, did not my engagement here utterly 
forbid the idea, such a trip over the solitude of prairie and 
mountains would precisely fall in with my natural love of ro- 
mantic adventure. 

"Mrs. Beecher invited me down to tea, when I met Dr. 
Finley and sister and a gentleman from Scotland, a graduate 


of Glasgow College, I have not yet decided that it is my 
duty to stay here more than the two years. I wish for all 
the light on this point you can give me, and I wish you would 
seriously and prayerfully inquire where we both, unitedly, can 
do the most good to our fellow men, and there we will go and 
stay, for there alone shall we be most happy and useful. Now, 
this is a question you are as deeply interested in as myself, and 
perhaps more so. I cannot, therefore, take upon myself the 
responsibility of deciding alone a question which will undoubt- 
edly affect in no slight degree the happiness of each of us for 
time and eternity. Let us endeavor to do it in the light of 
eternity and as in the presence of God, so that we can claim 
Him as our Father and our Friend, wherever we may be or 
whatever may befall us. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

March 20, 1834. 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"This winter season has been far more moderate, as a whole, 
than any I have ever passed in New England — indeed, much 
more than I anticipated. The cold weather continued only 
about three weeks. The birds were singing and the geese 
flying in February, also until in December in the fall. This, 
I am told, is the usual course of things. There is a meeting 
of the trustees in session to-day, and they seemed determined 
that I shall wander no more. They have invited me to con- 
nect myself for life as a permanent professor in one of the 
departments, giving me my choice out of three, if I will stay." 

"College Hill, May 24, 1834. 
"Dear Rhodolphia: 

"... Since I wrote you last I have concluded to con- 
nect myself permanently with the college. The trustees were 
pleased to call me in the papers 'Professor of Rhetoric and 


Belles Lettres,' and I suppose that, for the remainder of my 
life, I shall go by that name. . . . My daily task is now 
Latin and Greek, as before, with the addition of hearing and 
revising the orations and compositions for commencement, 
which takes place the third Wednesday in August. 

"Friend Post and myself walk in our beautiful grove about 
ten rods back of the college buildings, on the crown of the hill, 
every eve a few moments, to study the stars and to catch the in- 
spiring fragrance floating on the zephyrs. Our grove is full of 
all kinds of wild fruit, May-apples, cherries, plums, grapes, 
blackberries, raspberries, paw-paws, nuts, etc., by the bushel. 
I tell you, this is indeed a land 'flowing with milk and honey' ; 
for such is the abundance of wild bees and tame cows that 
scarcely a meal is made without an abundance of milk and 
honey. I never lived better in my life, even in old New Eng- 
land, or enjoyed better health and spirits, than I have this 

"My secretary and things have all arrived safe, except one 
box of clothing worth about fifty dollars or seventy-five dollars ; 
I do not know where that is. The others came about a month 
since, and I am beginning to be nearly naked for the want 
of it. 

"We contemplate erecting another building, four stories 
high, one hundred by forty feet, with wings, together with a 
chapel, as soon as we can make the necessary arrangements, 
and until that is done I do not expect to have much peace or 
leisure, except what I shall find in a continuous round of duties. 
About fifty thousand dollars will be requisite to complete our 
plans, and Mr. S. is now away to make the arrangements for 
the capital necessary. This, of course, throws an additional 
burden upon us who remain. But my health is good; never 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 


"Illinois College, January i, 1835. 

"... The weather for a few days has been excessively 
cold, about twenty degrees below zero, and one morning thirty- 
two degrees below — several degrees colder than I ever knew 
it in New England. There has been scarcely any snow, and 
the grapes continue to hang in clusters on the vines in the 
trees. Mr. Post and I continue to visit them, for we have no 
other fruit except occasionally an apple. 

"We have more students than we can accommodate in this 
country of limited means. Not much time for mischief for 
me. Dr. Post's eyes have laid him by for some weeks; be- 
sides, I have been examining the students, judicially, for some 
mischief committed on Christmas eve. Have detected the 
rogues and made them confess; four confessed and promised, 
and two are dismissed. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

Another trip with Indians pleased the Professor's love of 

"Illinois College, April 26, 1835. 
"My Dear Girl: 

"The trustees appointed me to an agency in behalf of the 
college, and within the three past weeks I have traveled some- 
thing like a thousand miles to the north, mainly through a 
wild, romantic, and savage region, where, among things in- 
teresting and amusing to me, I had the pleasure of an intro- 
duction to Black Hawk and his son, Keokuk, Stabbing Chief, 
and the other chiefs and braves of the Sioux and Fox Indians. 
I played checkers with Black Hawk, and beat him. He jumped 
up and said, 'Ugh ! ugh !' I traveled on the Upper Mississippi 
River with about eighty of the head chiefs and braves for 
several hundred miles; had quite an opportunity to become 
acquainted with their habits of thought and life. Their man- 
ner of treating their squaws is brutal, and they are still more 


savage and disgusting towards one another when in liquor. 
I am glad to be among civilized beings once more and in my 
own 'lonely cell.' Term has commenced. Messrs. Beecher, 
Post, and Sturtevant are still away, and, of course, I have 
had no rest since I returned. I expect Mr. Sturtevant to-day 
or to-morrow. I send you a map of the State inclosed, upon 
which they have put our main building. Mr. Beecher lives 
in one wing and Mr. Sturtevant in the other wing; a prick of 
the pen designates the room I occupy in the third story front, 
south end. Where they will put you and me is uncertain; 
probably we shall be obliged to go down into some of the 
log huts in the town until another building can be erected 
similar to this. In fact, Messrs. Beecher and Sturtevant lived 
in 'sucker style' [log houses] for two or three years, while 
this college was building. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

As the day set for the wedding approached, the time began 
to drag for Professor Turner, as the following letter shows: 

"Illinois College, August 29, 1835. 
"... Excessive rains have engendered an unprecedented 
number of bilious affections. Messrs. Beecher and Post are 
away; Mr. Sturtevant has been on his back three weeks or 
more; Mr. Catlin, the general agent in money matters, was 
away at the same time; and Mr. Graves, the superintendent 
of the farm and shops, and Mrs. Hitchcock, the chief cook, 
are also sick. Mr. S. is recovering, and I am somiewhat re- 
lieved. Glad, glad shall I be to see the end of this term ! I 
expect now to start for New England, September 21." 



tN September, 1835, Professor Turner, for the sake of tak- 
■l- ing a trunk with him, hired a man to drive him and two 
ladies to Chicago in a two-horse wagon, instead of going in 
the usual way, on horseback. From Chicago, with several 
others, he started, late one afternoon, in a stage-coach for De- 
troit, Michigan. As they neared Lake Calumet, south of Chi- 
cago, he noticed that the driver, a boy about seventeen years 
of age, who was to drive the coach to the next station, was 
crying. Upon inquiry, it was found that he was afraid to 
attempt the ford, on account of the dangerous quicksands in 
Lake Calumet. The party had been delayed in leaving Chi- 
cago, and it was now so late that he was afraid he would not 
be able to recognize the landmarks. He wanted to turn back, 
and start again in the morning. But the passengers were 
unwilling to lose any more time. They tried to encourage 
him, and insisted upon proceeding. In his nervous fear he 
did partly miss the ford, and two wheels of the coach went 
down in the quicksands. The men leaped out and kept the 
stage from overturning, while the driver unhitched the horses 
and brought them to the stage door on the upper side, in order 
to get the women passengers out and on to dry land. Of this 
journey Professor Turner afterward wrote : 

"We worked for hours, but the horses could not move the 
stage; then the driver said that about ten miles away a man 
lived who owned two yoke of oxen ; he was despatched to bring 
them and their owner, the men meanwhile holding on to the 
stage-coach, standing waist-deep in water, to prevent it from 
overturning. Hour after hour passed, and not until four 



o'clock in the morning did the driver return with the farmer 
and his oxen ; then soon we were on our way. 

"We selected this route because it would take us over the 
famous government road then being built from Detroit to 
Chicago, and we had had delightful visions of bowling along 
a smooth highway built by government money and govern- 
ment engineers. But, alas! instead of being honest corduroy, 
as required in the contract and advertised in glowing colors, 
each tree felled and laid side by side with its neighbor tree, 
at right angles to the right of way, and all spaces carefully 
filled with dirt, the whole one unbroken, smooth surface, the 
trees were felled helter-skelter and left just as they happened 
to fall, but all were covered with dirt and rounded up smooth 
and even before the inspector came. The first spring rains 
had washed away the earth. Naked trunks of trees, at all 
angles and of all sizes, stretched over the impassable morasses 
of Indiana. By September the whole route was strewn with 
broken vehicles, wagon wheels, and parts of stage-coaches. 
The men walked behind, carrying rails on their shoulders to 
pry out the wheels, when skilful driving could not prevent 
their slipping between the tree-trunks and they were in danger 
of being wrenched off." 

At one point Professor Turner ventured to say that he could 
have walked all the way, without carrying a rail on his shoul- 
der, or working hard at prying out wheels, or paying money 
for his passage. "Yes," replied the driver, "but you could 
not have carried your trunk." 

The bride's home in Somers, Connecticut, surrounded by 
great elm trees, and with the distant hills beautiful in their 
brown and purple glory, was, on October 22, 1835, the scene 
of a happy yet tearful wedding. The bride, an only child by 
her mother's first marriage (her father had died of typhoid 
fever, when she was only six weeks old, before his first wed- 
ding anniversary), had all her life been cherished by her mother 


and uncles and aunts, who had protected her from every dis- 
appointment, and made every place smooth that love could 
foresee. And now she was to go to the Western wilds, that 
mysterious realm full of dangers and hardships, Indians and 
cholera. Pre-nuptial festivities had been many — visits to 
friends and relatives far and near. The wedding over, the 
guests departed; but the bride could not. Typhoid fever 
claimed her, and for weeks she hovered between life and death. 
No word reached the friends at Illinois College, and their anx- 
iety became great, as the following letter from Professor Tru- 
man M. Post,* Professor Turner's room-mate at the college, 
shows : 

"Illinois College, December 7, 1835. 
"My dear Brother Turner: 

"1 have just received your anxiously expected epistle; I 
assure you, my dear friend, you have, as you well know, my 
most anxious sympathies and my prayers, and gladly would 
I be beside you at this moment to share in your — what shall 
I say, joys or sorrows? God grant it may be the former. 
Long and anxiously have we looked for you. At every stage 
all hands, students, professors, and professors' families, have 
run to the doors and windows to greet you and Mrs. Turner 
on your arrival. We have sympathized much with your sup- 
posed detention by accident and weather, and lamented the 
disagreeable traveling, in consequence of storms and extreme 
winter weather, that would introduce Mrs. Turner to her fu- 
ture home. A day or two since by intelligence from Mr. 
Gallaudettef (letter dated November 13), it was reported that 
your wife was dangerously ill. Your letter dated the 9th states 
that your wife was a little better. We feel uncertain whether 
Mr. G's information was posterior to your letter; you can see 
that our anxiety is still intense. 

*A few years later Professor Post became the pastor of the First Con- 
gregational Church in St. Louis, Missouri. 

tThe well-known Dr. Gallaudet, of Hartford, Connecticut, who did so 
much for the deaf. 


"And now, I know not what to say to you; I know not how 
this may find you. As I write I think perhaps this may find 
you broken and bending over a fresh grave. All I can say is 
that if it is joy, no heart will more cordially rejoice with you ; 
if in sorrow, none shall more deeply sorrow with you than 
my own. In any event, my friend, do not despair; do not 
give way to hopeless grief. Come back to us. None will re- 
ceive you with warmer hearts; come back and let us comfort 
you — at least, let us try. But I stop; in any case, I know all 
words, the words of friendship even, are idle." 

At the end of six weeks it was thought that the bride was 
strong enough to start on the journey to Illinois. The fall 
had been unusually mild, the winter delayed. It was hoped 
that, if they started immediately, they could reach Jackson- 
ville before the rivers and mountains became impassable from 
ice and snow. 

They reached Philadelphia safely by stage, but were detained 
there six weeks by a severe snow and ice storm that made it 
impossible to cross the mountains. Many restless storm- 
bound passengers were there to keep them company. At the 
end of the six weeks one stage-coach driver said he thought 
he could cross the mountains; another said if any one could 
he could; another and another said the same. So, one clear 
morning in the last of January, 1836, thirteen coaches, full of 
passengers and trunks, started on the perilous trip. The moun- 
tains were covered with ice, the roadways narrow, and the 
turns many and sharp. The only way that the drivers could 
keep their coaches from slipping off at the turns was to whip 
up their horses and pass on the run. 

Mrs. Turner, who was not yet strong, sat on her husband's 
lap, her eyes shut tight and her face buried in his neck, with 
his cloak covering her head, while he kept one hand on the 
door-handle, ready to attempt a leap for safety, should any 
accident befall. The passage was made in safety by all except 


the last coach. The driver of this, losing his nerve while mak- 
ing one of the sharp turns, failed to keep his horses on a run 
fast enough to prevent the coach from slipping off. The six 
horses all fell on one side of a large maple tree, and the stage- 
coach on the other, — thus breaking the fall for the passengers, 
— and then rolled backwards down the mountain-side. Every 
horse was killed ; but only one man was injured, and he only 
had a broken collar-bone. 

At Wheeling Professor and Mrs. Turner had to wait two 
weeks for a thaw before they could take a boat down the Ohio 
River. Then one captain announced that he was ready, and 
would bring the first boat into St. Louis, or "bust the b'ilers." 
Two boats started side by side through the floating ice-cakes, 
plowing their way with equal speed until they neared the 
mouth of the Ohio River. Rivalry and pride had been grad- 
ually encroaching upon prudence and judgment, until now 
both boats were being driven at full speed, the passengers 
taunting each other as first one, and then the other, gained upon 
its rival. Ham, pork, barrels of lard, and tar were fed into 
the red-hot furnaces. Suddenly there was an explosion, and 
the air was full of steam, smoke, shrieking passengers, and 
shattered limbs. When the smoke and steam had cleared away, 
a mass of wreckage and groaning people floated alongside the 
boat Professor and Mrs. Turner were on, instead of their rival 
boat. Their captain safely reached St. Louis first. 

After a few days of waiting there they took a boat up the 
Mississippi and Illinois rivers to Naples, the metropolis of 
Central Illinois, and traveled from there to Jacksonville by 
wagon, over rbads of bottomless mud — "because the soil was 
so rich and free from stones and rocks," as the enthusiastic 
bridegroom assured his travel-worn bride. Near the "Mound," 
four miles west of the town, they stopped for rest and repairs 
at a blacksmith's shop. Professor Turner asked for news — 
was any one sick or had any one died? No, said the smith; 
not that he knew of. Anxious to make a good impression on 


the bride, and under the circumstances a little on the defensive, 
— for a wagon ride in March over Morgan County roads has 
never been considered a practical way of favorably impressing 
strangers with the beauty of an Illinois landscape, — Professor 
Turner asked, "Did you ever see a country or a climate so 
healthful, so free from sickness and death, no consumption or 
typhoid fever, nothing to fear?" "No," replied the smith; 
"none o' them things, but everybody is shaking so hard with 
the durn ague, they can't find time to die, no matter how much 
they want to." The bride smiled, and the wagon drove on. 

Mrs. Turner had spent much of her life in boarding-schools 
and in visiting relatives, and knew nothing of housekeeping. 
Her mother, an energetic woman of unusual executive ability, 
whose home cares never caused a rufHe, and with whom every- 
thing moved as smoothly as clockwork, was dimly conscious 
that her daughter ought to receive some instruction in this 
line, and had begged for one more year, now that she was out 
of school, that she might receive it. But the impatient bride- 
groom had grandly assured her that her daughter would never 
have to keep house. The professors of Illinois College, he 
explained, were given so much for salary, with board and 
rooms for themselves and families in the dormitory; a house- 
keeper was employed, and the professors' wives had the care 
only of their own rooms. 

The following extract from a letter, dated July i, 1836, writ- 
ten by Mrs. Turner to her aunt, Mrs. Sumner Root, in Con- 
necticut, gives an idea of the impressions made upon her by 
her first few months in Illinois: 

"The very bones and sinew of old New England are com- 
ing over to the help of this new country. A new State is the 
place for enterprise. A Mr. Baldwin, a clergyman of this place, 
was traveling a few weeks since in the northern part of this 
State. He stopped for the night at a small settlement. Some 
of the people expressed a desire for an academy. He selected 


a spot of ground, and three weeks after, when he returned, 
they had commenced a building and had written for a teacher. 
From the window where I write (southeast window in the 
front room of the south wing of the dormitory) I can see at 
least one thousand acres of corn. I must tell Uncle Root some 
stories, and then I expect he will set fire to his old mountain 
farm and run to Illinois by the light of it. A Mr. Tillson, one 
of the trustees of this institution, came to this State some twelve 
or fifteen years since to explore the country, with little or no 
property. For six weeks he entered no house, and with the 
help of a flint he cooked his meals, spreading his table on the 
prairies. He had no bed but his buffalo robe and the heavens 
above for a covering. He is now worth from two hundred 
thousand to half a million dollars. The Governor of this State, 
Joseph Duncan, came to this place six years since with fifty 
thousand dollars, which he had by his wife, and is now worth 
as much as Mr. Tillson. 

"A lot of land which was bought a year since for one thou- 
sand dollars sold six months after for five thousand dollars, 
and probably now could not be bought for twenty thousand 
dollars. I could mention other similar incidents. Mrs. Tillson, 
wife of the gentleman mentioned, in writing friends, wrote 
that her house was so open she could throw a cat through in 
any direction between the logs. The friends were quite dis- 
satisfied, as he had described it as the best house in the county. 
In his reply he wrote that it was the best, for it was the only 
one. She now has a good house." 

In a letter to her mother on the same date, Mrs. Turner 
wrote : 

"We are pleasantly situated and contented ; indeed, we should 
be very ungrateful to be otherwise, surrounded as we now are 
with all the comforts of life. Yes, I may say with all that 
heart can wish, with the exception of our own dear friends. I 


hope, whenever you think of me, you think of me as contented 
and happy, and not as a great way off, but only as a journey 
of two weeks or a little more, with a husband willing I should 
visit you whenever I please, which is half the battle. I expect 
in a few years we shall be able to take breakfast here Monday 
morning and tea with you Saturday evening." 

This last sentence was quoted far and near among the rela- 
tives, and thought to be perfectly absurd : "Rhodolphia's hus- 
band is such a visionary man." 

In September a little son came to share their love and care. 
For many years he was known to the friends of the family 
as "Tiny," though he lived to be six feet and two inches in 
height and to weigh over two hundred and fifty pounds. He 
was named Rhodolphus, for his grandfather. Weary of the 
inconveniences of a large boarding-house. Professor and Mrs. 
Turner determined to try their fortune by themselves. They 
moved first into the eastern half of Mr. Graves' home on Grove 
Street (now the first house west of the Old People's Home), 
then to a little house on College Avenue, just west of where 
the Congregational Church now is. Here, in the sudden cold 
snap of 1836, the ducks were caught swimming on the pond 
in the front yard, and frozen fast in the ice. Their last move 
was to their own home on College Hill, 11 52 West College 

In 1837 the contracts were being drawn up that would bring 
carpenters and lumber across the Alleghanies, to build their 
house; but, before the contracts were signed or the plans per- 
fected, an enterprising carpenter appeared and furnished every- 

Soon after they were settled in the new home. Professor 
Turner went out after breakfast, one morning, to look around. 
He did not return. The young wife thought he had gone 
directly to his classes ; but when he did not come back for din- 
ner, nor in the afternoon, she became alarmed and called the 


neighbors. The Professor could not be seen in any direction, 
though neither tree nor house hid the view over the wide 
prairie. But the prairie-grass grew very high to the west of 
the house, and here, after searching for some time, they found 
him, holding on in a death struggle to the sprouting horns of 
a young deer. When he had started out in the morning, he 
had come unexpectedly upon the young fellow, and had caught 
him by the horns, thinking he could easily manage him, and 
that his wife would be interested in seeing the beautiful young 
creature. But he was mistaken ; for once, his athletic strength 
did not suffice. All day they struggled round and round in 
the tall grass, the deer getting more and more angry, until it 
became a question whose life should pay the forfeit. Not a tree 
or a fence near, too far away for his shouts to be heard, his 
only hope was to hold on until both should be exhausted or 
help should come. His friends arrived none too soon. The 
deer was taken to the house, but not in the beauty and graceful 
vigor of its young life. Professor Turner's bleeding hands 
bore witness to the contest. 

And now let us draw a veil over the trials and tribulations 
of the inexperienced young couple. No competent domestic 
help was to be had for love or money. Not a garment of any 
description could be purchased for man, woman, or child ; not 
a loaf of bread, not a biscuit or a cracker, not a particle of 
ready-made yeast, and not a cook-book in the land with any 
practical directions for preparing food. And no relative near 
to counsel or help. 

Three little boys came before they had been married four 
years, the third before the two older could walk. But Mrs. 
Turner proved a most conscientious and devoted mother to 
the seven little ones that in time came to her arms, and she 
became a model housekeeper, whose bread was known to her 
many guests and relatives as most delicious; but this was not 
until many years had passed, and, as she often said, "tears 
enough to drown herself had been shed." Often had she seen 


her husband take a slice of bread and enthusiastically exclaim, 
"Why, Rhodolphia, how you have improved! This is the 
best you have made." And then, when it would not go down, 
he would slip it from his mouth under the edge of his plate, 
and when he left the table hide it in his hand until he could 
throw it out of sight in the yard when he thought she was not 
looking. The only good wheat bread they had for years was 
when their kind neighbor, Mrs. Graves, brought them a loaf. 
Many a time did the young housekeeper cry for joy over the 
gift, and then cry for shame because she could never return 
a like favor. Often sick and weary with the quickly multiply- 
ing cares of motherhood, she found too little strength left to 
learn the complicated details of housekeeping in a pioneer land. 



T LLINOIS COLLEGE in the '30's consisted of one small 
brick building forty feet square — the north half of what 
is now called Beecher Hall. It contained a school-room fur- 
nished only with a teacher's desk and benches for the students 
— not a sign of a library or apparatus of any kind. A little 
to the east was a large dormitory, four stories high, with two 
wings, one on the north and one on the south. The south 
wing, which is now the college club-house, is all that is left 
of the dormitory, which was destroyed by fire in January, 
1853. Southwest of the present Beecher Hall was the home 
of Mr. Graves, the superintendent of farming. Across Mound 
Avenue and a little farther west was the college barn, at that 
time believed to be the largest barn in the State of Illinois. 
East of the barn, at the west corner of Lincoln and Mound 
avenues, a part of the building still standing was the cabinet- 
shop, presided over by Mr. Beal; for Illinois College was a 
manual training school as well as a college of literature and 
arts. Much of the furniture used in the college and in its 
vicinity was made here (Professor Turner had some pieces 
in his home) — excepting mahogany furniture, which was 
shipped from the East by way of New Orleans. After a few 
years the cabinet-shop was turned into a medical school, under 
charge of Dr. David Prince, a surgeon, and a philanthropist 
greatly beloved by the people of Jacksonville. At this time 
the college land, nearly half a mile square, extended from 
State Street on the north over the brook on the south, and 
from City Place on the west to Prospect Street on the east. 
It was nearly all one vast corn-field, worked by the students 
under the superintendency of Farmer Graves; but later the 
student labor was given up as unprofitable. The boys were 



not very fond of this part of the curriculum, and, at the first 
sound of the bell that ended the period at plow or harrow, 
would drop the reins and hasten back to the class-room, leav- 
ing the horses or oxen either to return to the barn or run away. 
It was finally decided that the damage to animals and im- 
plements far outweighed the profit to the students or the col- 

It was customary for the professors, in vacation time, to 
ride over the prairies, visiting the cabins of pioneers in the 
timber along the streams, and trying to persuade the fathers 
and mothers to send their children to the college. Some of 
the settlers were eagerly waiting for this good news; but the 
professors sometimes were met with, "I never had any book- 
I'amin', and they kin git along as well as I kin." In the '20's 
and '30's there was much antagonism to this "book-l'arnin'." 
Not until 1835, nearly twenty years after Illinois became a 
State, were the friends of Illinois College — ^by combining with 
the friends of McKendree at Lebanon, and Shurtleff at Alton, 
and the college at Jonesboro — able to influence their Repre- 
sentatives in the Legislature to secure a charter. The charter 
at Jonesboro was never used. 

One day Professor Turner, before starting on one of these 
trips, hired a young horse of high life but bad reputation. 
He thought he could manage him, and after considerable 
trouble the horse was saddled and the Professor was on his 
back, bucking over the prairie. Suddenly the girths gave way, 
and saddle, saddle-bags, and Professor lay upon the ground. 
When he opened his eyes and saw the stars overhead and dark- 
ness all around, he wondered what it could mean. He tried 
to move, and then he remembered. In the distance a dim 
light shone from a settler's cabin. He crawled toward it on 
his hands and knees until he was near enough to make himself 
heard. Finally some of the occupants came out and found 
him, carried him in, and laid him on their only bed. They 
were very kind. They helped him to cut his veins for bleed- 


ing — which was then the universal remedy for every ailment, — 
and nursed him for weeks ; for he was very ill. 

The settler's wife seemed to be distressed because he could 
not eat and one day she said : "You can't git strong without 
food. I will cook you anything. Can't you think of something 
that you would like — something your mother used to cook?" 

Professor Turner, in telling about it afterward, used to say : 

"After seeing the skillet, the one and only household utensil, 
do service for cooking the food, then as a dish-pan, and finally 
as a foot-tub, I had not much appetite; but, after much im- 
portuning, I said, 'I would like a piece of my mother's pumpkin 
pie' — thinking that it was the one thing that could not pos- 
sibly be obtained. 

"To my astonishment, she replied : 'You shall have it.' 

"I had noticed crescent-shaped strips of something strung 
on a string and suspended from the top of the cabin, and had 
wondered what they could be; I had finally decided that they 
were intended to attract and furnish a roosting-place for the 
innumerable flies. 

"The kind woman made her crust, covered the bottom of 
the skillet with it, and then climbed up and took down a num- 
ber of these strips of pumpkin, black with dust, smoke, and 
flies. After washing them, she laid them closely side by side 
all over the crust, and baked it in the coals of the fireplace. 
What could I do ? She was so sure she had something I would 
like! Nature came to my relief — the sight of it made me 
deathly sick. I told her I could not eat yet, to save it for her 
family; but she truthfully replied, 'Our men-folks don't like 
pumpkin pie.' " 

Professor Turner was glad indeed when, presently, he was 
able to travel and return to his home in Jacksonville. 

Prayers were held at Illinois College at six o'clock in the 
morning, one hour later than had been the custom at Yale, 
and sometimes a recitation was held an hour before prayers. 

Students came to the college from near and far, many of 


them walking across the prairies. In 1833, Joseph Trotter 
Mills, whose father had taken his slaves across the river into 
Ohio to free them, and for this was compelled to leave his 
home in Kentucky, walked from Bond County to Jacksonville 
to attend Illinois College, but he did not graduate. General 
Zachary Taylor sent to President Beecher for a tutor for his 
children, and Joseph Mills was recommended, and accepted 
the offer. On his way by boat to Fort Crawford at Prairie 
du Chine, Wisconsin, he passed a young couple in a boat com- 
ing down the river who seemed to be attracting the attention 
of travelers. Later he learned that it was Jefferson Davis 
eloping with the old General's daughter. 

William G. Green and his brother, sons of a widow living 
in Menard County, Illinois, also walked to Illinois College, 
carrying their few books and clothes and luncheon. At noon 
they laid their burdens down and went in search of water; 
when they returned they found that the prairie-wolves had 
already enjoyed their luncheon. 

At the end of the school year they walked home, and found 
that their mother had hired a tall, rawboned man to help in 
the harvest fields. His name was Abraham Lincoln. After 
supper he said, "Well, boys, what did you learn at college? 
Will you let me see your books?" They told him of their 
college life, and gave him their books. He selected the one 
on English grammar, and every night, for weeks, he studied 
it, sometimes asking questions, which they answered as well 
as they could — quoting as their authority Jonathan B. Turner, 
Professor of Belles Lettres, Latin, and Greek at Illinois Col- 

Professor Turner taught all the branches included in the 
curriculum, except chemistry, but his specialty was belles let- 
tres, rhetoric, Latin, and Greek. He did double duty often- 
times, as all the professors did when one or more of their 
number were away on college work. In addition to teaching, 
the disciplining of the students was left to him. The good old 


Bible doctrine, "Spare the rod and spoil the child," was still 
followed strictly. It is said that one teacher in the neighbor- 
hood of Jacksonville opened his school each morning, not by- 
calling the roll, but by whipping every boy, big and little, in 
order to make him mindful of the duties of the day. 

One student at Illinois College had given the faculty a great 
deal of trouble. He was incorrigible in mischief in school, 
as he was in fun and frolic out of school. The fact that he 
was the son of the Rev. Thomas Lippincott, one of the trustees 
of the college, and its devoted friend, made the situation em- 
barrassing ; but, when patience had ceased to be a virtue. Pro- 
fessor Turner was told to discipline the boy in any way he 
thought best, as long as he did it well. 

The Professor took the boy up the four flights of stairs to 
the attic in the old dormitory, placed him, face down, upon a 
table, and tied his hands and feet to the four corners of the 
table. Then he took up a long blacksnake whip which he had 
provided for the occasiqn — laid it down, and took it up again. 
Finally, instead of thrashing the boy, he began to talk to him, 
telling him how hard it was to strike his noble father's son, 
as he had been directed to do, not only for the good of the 
school, but for his own good; The boy did not seem very 
deeply impressed. Laying the whip on the floor, in plain view, 
Professor Turner then said he would have to go away for a 
while, but would return soon. 

All that day he left the boy stretched upon the table, with 
the whip in sight upon the floor. By the time he returned, 
late in the afternoon, the boy did not need to be punished 
further. He had pondered long and well upon the Professor's 
words, and, with the whip suggestively before him, had de- 
cided to promise to do better. 

Years afterward, Professor Turner was invited to Chandler- 

ville, Illinois, to officiate at the wedding of this same boy.* 

*Later the Hon. Charles E. Lippincott, a Civil War veteran, Auditor of 
the State of Illinois for two terms, and, at the time of his death, superin- 
tendent of the Soldiers' Home at Quincy. 


After the wedding dinner, the groom arose and told the guests 
why he had been determined to have Professor Turner at his 
wedding : "I knew he would start me on the right road in matri- 
mony, for he guided me, years ago, into the right road of true 
manhood, when all others had failed." Then he related the 
story of the whipping, which by that time the Professor had 

Professor Turner's duties as disciplinarian did not seem to 
affect his standing with the students. For many years, even 
after he was no longer connected with the college, until en- 
feebled by old age and blindness, he was the favorite toast- 
master at their Sigma Pi and Phi Alpha reunions and ban- 

Judge T. J. C. Fagg, who was an Illinois College student 
in the '30's, was a devoted friend and admirer of Professor 
Turner, as well as a true friend of the college. After a visit 
to his alma mater in 1896, Judge Fagg wrote a letter from 
which the following paragrapli is quoted : 

"Louisiana, Missouri, November 17, 1896. 

"My dear Friend: 

"I have just returned from Jacksonville. I was sorry not 
to find you at home when I called. I wandered over to the 
college grounds, and located the spot at which the gate stood 
through which we drove up to the old college building on the 
third day of April, 1837. I found Albert Shaw of Marshall, 
Illinois, and Hendershott, on that chilly morning, engaged in 
setting out the trees that now stand between the old college 
site and the foundation of the new library building." 

The trees planted that morning in 1837 form the beautiful 
grove in the southern part of the campus where the commence- 
ment exercises are now held every June. The gate referred 
to stood where the carriage road now enters the campus on 


College Avenue between Whipple Academy and the Gym- 

Besides his college duties, Professor Turner gave some at- 
tention to business matters, and found time to invest consid- 
erable money for his friends in the East. Among the men 
who trusted him with funds were Dr. Osgood, of Greenfield, 
Massachusetts, a boyhood and lifelong friend, with whom he 
always corresponded, and Dr. Gallaudet, of Hartford, Con- 
necticut, who wrought such wonders in the instruction of the 
deaf and dumb. At one time he had an open account of thirty 
thousand dollars belonging to these men, and it was all repaid 
to the last cent. 

Land speculation was as uncertain in that day as it is now, 
and Professor Turner's investments were not always success- 
ful. When the removal of the capital from Vandalia was 
first suggested, Governor Duncan bought a tract of land in 
the exact geographical center of the State, had it surveyed into 
town lots, with broad avenues and streets, and gave it the 
appropriate name of lUiopolis. Many of the Governor's 
friends bought of these lots, believing the new town would 
become the capital of the State. But the enterprising citizens 
of Springfield were able to secure more votes for their little 
settlement, and the capital went to that city. Several years 
afterward. Professor Turner, while traveling in that part of 
the State, decided to stop and see if he could locate his comer 
lots. It was midwinter; the ground was covered with snow 
and landmarks were difficult to find. Finally, after much 
floundering about on horseback, he found his plot, and on it 
a wolf-trap that had captured a prairie-wolf — the only living 
thing in that wilderness of snow. Illiopolis, however, is now 
a thriving town. 

In 1837, when the presidential "bee" was buzzing in Daniel 
Webster's ears, he made a tour of the Western States, and 
stopped at Jacksonville to visit his friend. Governor Duncan. 
A platform was built around the trunk of a great elm tree in 


Duncan Grove, and trenches were dug and half filled with 
wood for the great barbecue feast of whole oxen to be roasted 
on the live coals. 

The first thing on the program that day. was the speech. 
President Beecher of Illinois College introduced the dis- 
tinguished orator. Daniel Webster rose to his feet, and for a 
moment stood silent upon the platform ; then haltingly he began 
to speak, clearing his throat, coughing, and hesitating. Finally 
he said, "Is there any water convenient? I am very thirsty." 
A friend in the audience, catching the cue, handed up a glass 
of pure alcohol, which the assembled multitude believed to be 
water. Webster drank it, and soon the lightning began to 
flash and the thunder to roll in the brilliant speech of the great 
American orator. The next morning he appeared at the col- 
lege chapel to speak to the future fathers of our country, and, 
what was of more interest to him, the future voters. He be- 
gan with some hesitation, and looked around helplessly. But 
this time there was no friend at hand with a glass of alcohol. 
He made a few commonplace remarks and sat down. 

The students were surprised and not a little chagrined, be- 
lieving that Webster was unwilling to waste his oratory on 
mere students. President Beecher followed with an appropri- 
ate address, occupying the rest of the time that it had been 
expected the great Webster would use. The students cheered 
their president, and later comments proved that they thought 
Daniel Webster a greatly overestimated man. He might be a 
great man in the East, but he could not compare in the West 
with their own beloved president. 

Illinois College had received many gifts in land which had 
been added to the original fifty-one and one half acres bought 
of Judge Lockwood; but, at the same time, the college often 
needed money for current expenses. At one time the outlook 
was so promising and the gifts so generous that President 
Beecher frequently prayed, in faculty meeting, that the Lord 
would remove their worldly possessions (a prayer which the 


faculty, for a short time in later years, believed had been lit- 
erally answered) if they were in danger of becoming proud- 
spirited and overbearing. 

But in the panic of 1837 prices and values dropped, and 
the college was unable to meet expenses. After two years of 
teaching with no salary. Professor Turner accepted college 
lots at the "boom" price set before the panic, and for the re- 
mainder of his life lived upon the beautiful seventeen and one 
half acres on College Hill. 



T ACKSONVILLE was the Mecca of all the early emigrants 
*' to Illinois, the one garden spot in the prairie State, before 
Springfield was dreamed of as its capital, or Chicago, now the 
metropolis of the Middle West, was thought of. The grace- 
ful and easy Southerner and the energetic Yankee came by 
river and stage-coach, ox-teams, or with horses, ambitious for 
greater opportunities of personal gain or greater service to 
their Master and mankind. They formed two distinct ele- 
ments of opposition and antagonism in the early years of the 
little village, but later became one united whole of grace and 
energy when the question of slavery had passed away and the 
younger generation had joined hearts and hands. 

In those early years the intensity of opposition was increased 
when home friends and relatives came to visit in the village, 
bringing with them their slaves as nurse-girls, waiting-maids, 
and men-servants. The question of slavery in the Northwest 
Territory was fought over again with tongue and pen. Neigh- 
bor was divided against neighbor, friend against friend, even pa- 
rents against children and children against parents ; and when 
it was rumored that a man slave had been whipped to death 
in a house on West State Street, just west of Grace Methodist 
Church, because he attempted to run away, and when Mr. 
Samuel Willard and others had been caught helping a negro 
girl on her way to Canada by the Underground Railroad, ex- 
citement was at fever heat. Although Professor Turner was 
a member of the Underground Railroad, he was never very 
zealous in its work, believing that the true and only successful 
way to attack the curse of slavery was by openly fighting with 
tongue and pen for the enforcement of the laws upon the 
statutes of the State and the enactment of new laws, if neces- 



sary — rather than by individual effort in helping a few poor 
creatures to Canada; yet he never refused his personal aid 
when called upon. 

One experience of his own Professor Turner describes in 
"Historic Morgan": 

"One bitter cold night in December, the fall after we so 
nobly welcomed the Portuguese to our city, Mr. Henry Irving, 
who was one of the bravest of men connected with the Under- 
ground Railroad, came to me while in my barn feeding my 
horse, and said that there were three colored women, who had 
escaped from the St. Louis slave market, concealed in an old 
abandoned cabin southwest of "Negro Town" in the fields. 
If left there, they would freeze to death or be captured, as 
their pursuers and our police were close after them. He wished 
me to go to their rescue, while he returned to the city to watch 
the police. What could I do? But one thing was possible. 
I at once cut me a heavy hickory bludgeon from the wood- 
pile, which I could then wield far more fearlessly and un- 
scrupulously than now, hid it under my camlet cloak, and 
proceeded to the rescue. Arriving at the cabin door, I rapped. 
No one stirred. I repeated my raps, but all was still, and I 
supposed they had been captured or had fled in fear. I be- 
thought me to say, 'I am your friend.' At once there was a 
slight rustle, and soon the crack of the door was cautiously 
opened. I quickly reassured them, and three trembling, frozen, 
and half-dead women stood around me — all, as I afterwards 
learned, regular members of the orthodox Methodist Church 
in St. Louis, who had been out of doors for a week, trying 
to escape from a sale down South, away from all their families 
and friends, which they deemed in those days worse than 
death. Seeing the lanterns of the police glancing about 'Negro 
Town,' as we called it, I told them to follow me one after the 
other, within sight of each other, as I led them out of the 
bright starlight under the shadows of the trees and fences, and, 


if anything happened to me or to them, to scatter and hide in 
the corn-fields. By this time my blood was up. I was ready 
for business, and determined to defend my charges at all haz- 
ards. But it soon occurred to me I had got 'an elephant on 
my hands,' and that it would be impossible to conceal them at 
my house, or in that of any known anti-slavery man. 

"Dr. Pierson then lived on the Post place, one mile or more 
west of town.* He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, 
a good Christian man, but regarded as pro-slavery in his sym- 
pathies. I resolved to take them to him ; for I thought I knew 
the bottom of the old man's heart better than he did himself. 
So I proceeded to pilot them to the gate that led to his house, 
and waited for them to come up. Only two of the three came. 
I supposed the last one had been nabbed, or from her exces- 
sively frozen feet had missed her way. I therefore hid the 
two in the shelter of a fence and brush, and ran back at full 
speed for the third. I found she could not keep in sight of 
the others from excessive lameness — her feet were cut and 
bruised by the ice and snow. I then took them up to Dr. 
Pierson's door, rapped, and called for the doctor, and said to 
him, 'Here we all are, Doctor. I found these strangers so and 
so. You know I cannot protect them. I have brought them 
to you. You must either protect or betray us.' 'Come in, 
come in, Mr. Turner. We won't betray you. We will do the 
best we can for them. Wife, these people need some hot coffee 
and something to eat.' On went the tea-kettle, open flew the 
larder, as if the king himself had knocked at the door — as, 
indeed, he had. The Lord's children got their supper, and 
left the devil outdoors to feed on creeds, orthodoxies, con- 
servatisms, and wind, to his heart's content. 

"They were kept in Dr. Pierson's barn for two weeks ; then 
a man took my horses and sleigh and carried them off towards 
the Canada line. I heard they got through safely. The first of 
January, after this, we had one of our old-fashioned annual 

*Now Fair View, Dr. Pitner's home. 


union dress-parade prayer meetings in the basement of the 
same church in which we had before welcomed the Portuguese. 
In these meetings all the sects united, except the Campbellites, 
who had not then got fully on their orthodox pinafores. For 
then, as now, no faith was deemed orthodox that had not been 
salted down long enough to begin to petrify and turn to stone. 
Any true description of those union prayer meetings would now 
be resented as a caricature. On this occasion a most excellent 
Christian man, now in heaven, but then too orthodox for either 
heaven or earth, quoted freely from an Assembly's catechism 
to show the exceeding danger and peril of all heretics, and 
especially of all Unitarians, or men so inclined. I stood the 
first round very comfortably in silence. But when he again 
renewed the assault, so vigorously that all eyes were turned 
over to my corner, I could not resist the temptation to reply. 
I quoted from Christ's creed instead of the church creeds; 
narrated my experience in detail as given above, in an effort 
to conform to Christ's creed, only taking care to implicate no 
one in it but myself; commended them for their noble recep- 
tion of the Portuguese in that church but little before, who had 
been deprived by the tyranny of the Catholics of the privilege 
of reading only one book, the Bible. But here were American- 
bom citizens, orthodox church members, whom the tyranny 
of our laws and votes and churches had deprived of the privi- 
lege of reading all books whatever, from God or man, and 
had sealed their immortal souls in total midnight darkness, 
denying them the right to their own wages, husbands, and chil- 
dren — nay, to their ovm souls and bodies ; and when, about to 
be sold from all these, fleeing from lusts more dreadful to 
them than death, with frozen feet and starved bodies, they ap- 
pealed to me for aid, I was compelled to skulk away, through 
the darkness of midnight, from all our courthouses and officers, 
our churches and creeds and orthodoxies, as though I was a 
whipped dog, or was perpetrating some infamous crime. 'We 
have had enough of creeds that were never anything but the 


bastard and leprous progeny of the old Papists and despots 
of Europe. Let us Americans return to the creed of Him 
who alone is the son of man, son of God, and Saviour of the 
world, and alone competent to give us a creed.' Of course, I 
do not remember the exact words of this little speech, but its 
spirit I can never forget; for at that time I felt that more 
fines than all my property was then worth, and a possible term 
in the State's prison, in which my old and much-beloved class- 
mate Torrey* gloriously died, hung on every word of its utter- 
ance. The next morning the town was astir. Esquire Smith, 
a Southern man, one of our grandest old men and a leading 
lawyer, was at the prayer meeting and heard all that was said. 
The pro-slavery party naturally went to him to get out writs 
for me, on my own confession. He said to them: 'You go 
home and keep quiet. The less you have to say about that 
meeting, the better it will be for you and for us all.' " 

In 1843 ^^^ 1844 Professor Turner was editor of the Illinois 
Statesman, a local paper. Elijah Love joy's paper in Alton 
was the first anti-slavery paper published in Illinois, and 
Professor Turner's was the second. In its columns ap- 
peared the first notice of a negro wedding. No advertisement 
of runaway slaves was ever permitted in its columns, and so 
boldly was slavery denounced that Professor Turner's neigh- 
bor and friend, Dr. Samuel Adams, and sometimes others, 
followed him as he went to and from his office at night, for 
fear that he would be assassinated. A few extracts from let- 
ters are of interest in this connection. 

Albert Hale of Springfield, while deeply deploring his 
friend's scathing language as un-Christian, wrote: 

"In the meantime, be assured that, in reference to the opin- 
ions maintained in the Statesman, I do not hesitate to say that 

♦Charles Turner Torrey, an author and zealous anti-slavery reformer, 
was arrested for aiding fugitive slaves to escape and imprisoned in Balti- 
more, Maryland, where he died in prison May 9, 1846. 


I know of no Western political paper teaching as much truth 
with as little error. So far, then, as its doctrines are concerned, 
my estimate of the Statesman is high enough." 

Silas Reed wrote: 

"Dear Sir: 

"I had intended to do myself the pleasure of calling on you 
and thanking you in person — but was prevented — for the 
manly, impartial manner in which you have rebuked the un- 
just revilers of President Tyler on several occasions in your 
paper, and to express the gratification derived from the perusal 
of your pamphlet on the subject of currency, also addressed 
to Mr. Tyler." 

Edward R. Tyler, a publisher in New Haven, Connecticut, 
wrote : 

"Rev. and dear Sir: 

"I want to say how grateful I feel to you for the reading 
of the Statesman, a paper which excels all others with which 
I am acquainted for sound statesmanlike views of the public 
interest, for honest, untrammeled independence. Can it be 
that party vehemence will prevent a just appreciation of such 
a valuable journal and its wide circulation among the best 
population of your State? I hope not." 

In a letter addressed to a friend in New York, dated June 7, 
1836, Professor Turner's brother Asa, a trustee of Illinois 
College, wrote from Quincy, Illinois: 

"Dr. Nelson has been driven here by a mob; excitement 
very great. Cause, holiness in the form of Presbyterianism 
and abolition. Mobs are threatened here. What will be the 
end I know not." 


In 1842 the following letter was received by Professor 
Turner, warning him of his threatened assassination on ac- 
count of his opposition to slavery: 

"Louisville, Kentucky, 

"September 10, 1842. 
"J. B. Turner, Esq. 

"Although a stranger to you personally, I am well acquainted 
with your character as professor and as a writer against the 
Mormons. I feel interested in you for these accounts as well 
as from the precepts of religion, and we are told that we should 
do to others as we should like them to do for us, and now, sir, 
for the matter in view. 

"I have just returned from Missouri, where I was looked 
upon as a slaveholder, being from Kentucky. I am not a slave- 
holder, however. I had the entire confidence of some whose 
names I am in honor bound not to name. But it is sufficient 
for me to warn you against the evil that hangs over your head 
and the heads of others ; a hint to the wise should be sufficient. 
Be assured, then, the evil is determined against you, through 
an association of slaveholders in Missouri, and that the destruc- 
tion of your college, the kidnapping of yourself and some others 
will be attempted ; that, if that fails, a little poison, or a hemp 
cord on your neck, or a messenger of lead, or a bowie-knife 
will be certain in their time. 

"It is whispered that Governor T. Carlin is a hypocrite and 
connives at abolitionism, and might as well have a ball through 
him ; they have determined the secret death of every abolition- 
ist they can find. You may see that, should I give my name 
and it be found out, I would lose my life by it; but you may 
depend on the truth of the above. 

"Hoping this may reach you in time, I am, 

"Yours, etc., 


"P. S. The Quincy Institute is under the same threats as 
yours. Dr. Nelson is aware, I suppose, that his life is not 
safe. As to Carlin, I think they are mistaken about him ; for, 
from what I can learn, he is in favor of slavery; but he is 
rather two-faced." 

The writing in this letter, when compared with the writing 
in letters from Cassius M. Clay, with whom Professor Turner 
corresponded in later years, is easily identified. 

In 1845 Mr. Cassius M. Clay was threatened by a mob in 
Lexington, Kentucky. His printing-press and office were de- 
stroyed. His wife defended him and her home so courageously 
and so well that she was able to parley with the mob until her 
husband had escaped through a back door. The papers in the 
North were filled with the account. Professor Turner so ad- 
mired her womanly devotion, good judgment, and courage 
that he wrote Mr. Clay, and received permission to name his 
only daughter Mary, in honor of Mrs. Clay. 



ECCLESIASTICAL and political disturbances grew more 
and more intense at Illinois College. Students from the 
South, Mississippi, Alabama, and all the States between gave 
a decided pro-slavery tone to the student life, and the wealth 
and social activity of the village was led by the Southern ele- 
ment. But the New England element was true to its Pilgrim 
ancestry and the great work to which the "Yale Band" had 
consecrated themselves; and, while not wealthy, they were 
really the aristocracy of the place. 

Commencement was the great event of the year at Jackson- 
ville. Friends and strangers came from far and near, by stage 
and private teams, and Professor Turner's little home was full 
to overflowing. Father, mother, and babies were glad to find 
a resting-place on the floor, while guests filled every bedroom. 

Illinois College was poor, and the trustees and faculty were 
afraid of offending its Southern patrons. But fear and poverty 
could not silence the tongues of President Beecher and Pro- 
fessor Turner. In 1844 President Beecher resigned. He had 
gone East to raise funds for the college ; a letter followed him 
to Boston, telling him he need not return. It '— - ^reat sor- 
row to his friend. Their recreation hours had been spent to- 
gether. Their gardens adjoined, being separated by a Virginia 
rail fence. Often they were seen leaning on their hoes, earnestly 
talking, forgetful of their work and the dinner hour, and un- 
mindful of the housekeeper's voice reminding them that it was 
time the vegetables were cooking. Frequently they would lean 
on the fence, President Beecher with a jack-knife in his hand, 
whittling. At one time — so the story is told — about the time 
of the Lovejoy excitement, he whittled away so furiously that 



the top rail fell apart, cut entirely in two before either had 
noticed the progress of the knife. 

Professor Turner had been admitted to the ministry after 
coming West, and for several years had charge of the Congre- 
gational churches in Waverly and Chandlerville. But he was 
not in sympathy with the theology of that day, especially the 
doctrine of election and predestination. 

In 1844 the Synod of Illinois ordered an investigation into 
the religious teachings and influences at Illinois College, which 
was under the Presbyterian denomination. The trustees and 
faculty thought this was due to Professor Turner's peculiar 
views. Dr. Samuel Adams and Professor Turner, neighbors 
and friends as well as professors in the same college, were 
called upon to state their views, as were all the members of 
the faculty. Dr. Adams, a noble, generous-hearted man and an 
able and successful teacher, was greatly beloved by his students 
in as well as out of the class-room. A teacher of science, he 
had also the true love and appreciation of all that was beautiful 
in poetry, art, and general literature. Naturally orthodox and 
deeply religious, he was not in sympathy with hts friend's 
radical views. He stated his own beliefs in writing, clearly, 
concisely, and reverently. They were perfectly satisfactory 
to the committee and to the public. Not so with Professor 
Turner. His statement was more lengthy, but not so satis- 
factory. However, this was smoothed over. But Professor 
Turner's anti-slavery principles, together with his advanced 
religious views continued to make the relations with the 
college unpleasant, and in 1848, he resigned — "more feeble 
and broken in health," as he afterward wrote to his daugh- 
ter, "at forty-five than I now am at ninety-one years of 

Just at the time in a man's life when he most enjoys being 
a leader among men, and having his opinions respected and 
his actions approved. Professor Turner left his chosen field of 
labor. A few friends remained staunch and true, but the ma- 


jority of his co-workers and acquaintances heaved a sigh of 
relief over his departure in July, 1848. 

Worn with anxiety and strife, in debt, with a wife and five 
little children, no capital for new ventures, and no heart for 
the old pursuit, it was as balm to his wounded spirit when he 
received the following petition: 

"College Hill, January 10, 1850. 
"We, the undersigned persons, respectfully request Professor 
Turner to commence a Bible class at the Congregational 
Church, and will agree to attend." 

It was signed by many of the students of Illinois College. 
This petition was continued each year for several years, with 
the addition of new names, in spite of the frowns and opposi- 
tion of the so-called orthodox class. From a letter written in 
1906 by the Rev. O. C. Dickerson, pastor of the Earlville 
Congregational Church, is taken the following extract: 

"In the old Congregational Church on the east side of the 
Square, Professor Turner held a Bible class. One Sunday 
morning, as I was passing, I remembered this class, and went 
in. I slipped in at the end of a seat, and so became a member. 
It was principally composed of Illinois College students; yet 
some months later I brought in, and added to my beloved 
teacher's responsibilities, twelve young men from about town. 
I was a blacksmith apprentice. The Professor always expressed 
himself very strongly upon topics that moved him profoundly. 
It was through him, in a prayer-meeting talk, that I first heard 
about the Fugitive-Slave law. I caught the latter sentences 
only of this talk : 'We are told this institution of which we are 
all to become defenders is authorized by the Bible. Well, if 
this is the Bible, I say, take away the Bible. We do not want 
it. Give us the Book of Mormons, the Koran, the Hindoo 
Shasters. Anything is better. But, thank God, this infamy 


is not from the Bible. "Whom the Son maketh free is free 
indeed." ' Once, in a class, he had occasion to denounce fore- 
ordination, which he characterized as omnipotence, 'chaining 
men down by decree, and then damning them for not being 
free.' 'I tell you,' he said, 'nothing could equal my utter de- 
testation of such a God as that; but, thank Heaven, such is 
not the God of the Bible !' One can easily see how any contro- 
versialist opposed, by emphasizing the beginning and forgetting 
the close of his denunciatory sentences, could bring out a form 
of error of which the great heart of our departed thinker was 
wholly innocent. I have, through all my gospel preaching of 
fifty-three years, held and defended the great doctrine of the 
evangelical system of the strictest sort, an orthodox Congre- 
gationalist. It would be no easy thing to make me believe my 
spiritual father, J. B. Turner, had one fiber in his great heart 
that was not loyal to the blessed Christ and the kingdom of 

For a time after he resigned the chair of belles lettres and 
literature, Professor Turner thought of studying medicine, as 
he had a remarkable talent for caring for the sick, and in cases 
of great emergency and distress was often sent for by friends 
far and near. Finally, however, he decided upon horticulture 
and Osage orange culture. He laid out the home place in 
hedge fields, vegetable and flower gardens, and orchards. A 
grass walk four feet wide extended from the house on College 
Avenue straight north to State Street. On either side were 
flower-beds of the same width, filled with every variety and 
color of crocus, tulips, hyacinths, crown imperials, jonquils, 
daffodils, and narcissus. Back of these were roses, spiraeas, 
and all kinds of shrubs ; then, farther east and west, were the 
apple, peach, pear, and small-fruit orchards, and the vineyards. 
On the land where now stands the beautiful residence of Colonel 
John Robertson was a melon-patch, which was the delight of 
the children in the neighborhood, and the scene of many an 


escapade when Professor Turner's older sons lay in ambush 
at night, with guns loaded with salt, to fire at the legs of 
trespassers. To the west, part of what is now included in the 
front yard of the State School for the Deaf, were the Osage 
orange hedge fields. The small plants with their glossy leaves, 
in rows as straight as a line, running the full length of the 
fields, were a pleasing sight, and they furnished work for 
many a boy with a three-cornered hoe in the summer, and in 
winter in counting the plants stored in the barn cellar. The 
beginning of more than one honored career was laid in the 
hedge-rows, and in the cellar of the old plant-house, of Pro- 
fessor Turner. 

Professor Turner was the originator of the Turner red rasp- 
berry, which is still the standard raspberry in other countries 
as well as in the United States. He planted every tree that 
would grow in this climate. In 1862 he had a greater variety 
than could be found in the Smithsonian Gardens at Washing- 
ton. Evergreen seeds were sent to him from the Sierra Madre 
and Sierra Nevada, from the Rocky and White Mountains, the 
Himalayas, and from the cedars of Lebanon in Palestine. 






** "1X7" HAT can public schools do for families so widely scat- 
tered ?" was the query that was ever ringing in Pro- 
fessor Turner's ears as he rode over the great, uncultivated 
prairies, with not a wagon or bridle-path to mark the way, 
not a bridge over creek or river. "How can they be peopled — 
how can they be cultivated?" There was not enough timber 
to build fences, no way of protecting crops or corralling stock. 
What could be done to tempt the pioneer from his home in 
the East to settle upon the fertile lands in the West? The 
first problem was to get something for fences. It must be 
"horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight" ; it must be grown from 
the soil, for Illinois must furnish not only crops, but the ma- 
terial to protect her crops. He experimented with barberry, 
box, hawthorn, and many other plants, even sending to Eng- 
land and other countries for varieties — a proceeding attended 
with no little expense. But not one of these would answer. 

In the summer of 1835 Professor Turner attended a camp- 
meeting at Pisgah, on Charles Drury's farm, where the first 
log church of Pisgah was built. Logs had been cut for benches, 
and a rude platform built for the speakers. The preacher, a 
man from New York, dressed in the clerical style of the time, 
broadcloth coat, white tie, and high silk hat, precise and formal, 
was addressing the people, but did not seem to interest them. 
The young people were wandering through the woods, pick- 
ing blackberries, while the older men stayed in the background, 
discussing the questions of the day. Late in the afternoon, a 
man walked up the grassy aisle. His clothes were dusty and 
worn and his whole appearance so unkempt that Professor 
Turner put out his hand to stop him, thinking he must be some 
wayfarer who did not know what he was doing. To his sur- 



prise, the preacher stopped speaking and came forward to greet 
the newcomer. It proved to be the Rev. Dr. David Nelson,* 
who had for his circuit Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, 
and Missouri. No wonder that his clothes were dusty and 
worn, and that he wore one shoe and one boot, both of which 
had holes in them. He began to address the camp-meeting. 
Soon they gathered round until there was not one vacant seat, 
and for three hours he held this great audience. 

After the meeting. Professor Turner, in talking with him, 
told him of his experiments in trying to find some plant that 
would make good fences, and asked him if he had seen any- 
thing, on his journeyings, that could be grown into a hedge. 
Dr. Nelson replied that he had seen a thorny plant growing 
on the banks of the Osage River in Arkansas, and that he 
would bring some of the seed when he came again. Professor 
Turner said afterward: 

"He gave such an interesting account of this plant that I 
immediately determined to send for it. I wrote to every one 
in the Southwest I heard of that would be likely to give me 
any information about it ; but, as the Doctor had failed to give 
me the name bois d'arc, by which it was known farther West, 
these inquiries were pushed for years without any satisfactory 
results. Finally an answer came from a correspondent, who 
sent me a few plants, which I put out, and found to grow well. 

"I now turned my attention to propagating from them, with 
pretty good success; but with a new supply of plants came a 
few seeds taken from the orange ball. The planting of these 
showed that from the seed it could be propagated with great 
ease and facility. I procured a quantity of seed, but the first 
proved worthless. The second time, however, I was more for- 
tunate, and succeeded in growing some plants. Experience 
soon convinced me that the object of my search was found at 

*Rev. David Nelson afterward had an Institute at Marion, Missouri, 
from which he had to flee on account of his anti-slavery sympathies, pur- 
sued by an angry mob. Later he had an institute at Quincy, Illinois, of 
which General O. O. Howard wrote such interesting reminiscences. 


last. But the preparation of the soil, the planting of the seed 
at what time and depth, how to cultivate the plants and how 
to take them from the ground, how to keep them from the frost 
until spring, all had to be learned by years of experiment and 
study. The return for all this was usually the incredulous 
laugh of the passer-by. Even the Osage orange, for the first 
year or two, had the pretty appellation of 'Professor Turner's 

"The cultivation by hand was too slow and expensive. The 
cost of raising prohibited their general use ; so I invented and 
patented a cultivator to grind the dirt very fine by means of 
circular disks; also a drill and a planter to plant the Osage 
orange seed; and a corn-planter and wheat-drill where the 
driver could ride as well as drive. 

"In 1847 I issued my first circular to the people, offering 
the Osage orange plants for sale. In describing the plants the 
circular stated: 

" 'It is a native of Arkansas and Texas, and will grow on 
any soil where common prairie-grass will grow. Overflowing 
the land does not harm it. It will live for weeks, even months, 
entirely under water. It endures all climates, from Boston 
to New Orleans, perfectly well. Prairie fires will not destroy 
it or often injure it. It is armed with a very stout thorn under 
every leaf. Its dense iron branches soon become so interlocked 
that no domestic animal, not even a common bird, can pass 
through it. Both its thorns and its bitter acrid juice prevent 
all animals and insects from browsing or feeding on its 
branches. Its seed is like the orange seed and its root like the 
hickory. Consequently it can never spread into the field. One 
hedge around a farm secures orchards, fruit-yards, stables, 
sheepfolds, and pasture-grounds from all thieves, rogues, dogs, 
wolves, etc. One good gate, well locked, makes the whole 
farm secure against all intruders. It may be trained so high 
as to afford shelter to stock and break the rough prairie 
winds.' " 


Dr. H. W. Milligan, in an address upon "Scholarly Hori- 
zons," delivered before the senior class of Illinois College, De- 
cember 19, 1898, said: 

"We know a college professor who devoted himself to fenc- 
ing prairies, and who made the Maclura aurantiaca (Osage 
orange) knovra inrtwo hemispheres. In the Mississippi Valley 
he made forty-acre and quarter-section farms possible, where 
otherwise there would have been broad plantations, or still 
larger baronial estates." 

And so the State of Illinois and all the neighboring States 
were divided into fields by fences of living green. Farms were 
inclosed, the prairies cultivated, schools organized, and the 
future of Illinois as one of the great educational States of the 
Union was assured. For many years Professor Turner kept a 
man in the South to gather Osage orange balls and prepare 
the seed. In 1861 he wrote to Washington, D. C, to ask if 
he could continue that part of his business and not be consid- 
ered disloyal to the government. The officials replied that he 
could so continue, but that it would have to be at his own risk ; 
the government would not be responsible for any loss. The 
demand for hedges increased rather than diminished during 
the dark days of the Civil War. Plants sold for ten dollars 
a thousand. But the risk and difficulty of getting the seed 
from Arkansas increased, and finally the agent wrote that he 
could not remain there; the fact of his having business rela- 
tions with the North endangered his life. 

One day, at the close of business hours, this man left every- 
thing as usual, collecting nothing, taking nothing, and started 
in a southerly direction, not daring to go directly north. The 
second night out, he stopped at a little hotel, paid in advance 
for his night's lodging, saying that he wished to start early 
in the morning and would not wait for breakfast. When he 
went to his room, he found two other beds in it. He rather de- 


murred, but the landlord told him that it was the best he could 
do. About midnight three men came and occupied the beds. 
At daylight he awoke and started on his way ; his three room- 
mates had already gone. As he passed the outskirts of the 
village, he saw the bodies of those three men swinging from 
the limb of a tree. With great fear he continued on his way, 
traveling only at night, and finally reached Jacksonville, glad 
to escape with his life. 

Professor Turner wrote a great deal for agricultural papers, 
and he now urged the farmers to let Osage trees grow in their 
hedges, twenty-five feet apart, and to bring their oranges to 
him — that he would pay a good price for them. This they did, 
Professor Turner often paying as high as from three to five 
dollars a bushel for oranges, and the problem of getting Osage 
seed for hedges was again solved. 



Tj^ VEN before Illinois became a State, it was planning for 
its future needs in the way of education. An ordinance 
by the general government of 1783 had granted that one sec- 
tion in each township in the Northwest Territory should be 
designated as "school land," and the proceeds of the sale of 
this land should go to the support of public schools. Later, 
by the acts of Congress of 1804 and 1808, other government 
lands, within the Territory of Illinois, were granted for the en- 
dowment and support of a seminary, college, or university; 
this was usually called the "Seminary Fund." 

Professor Turner early became identified with the educa- 
tional movement which later developed into public schools by 
taxation and State universities, as will be seen by the follow- 
ing extract from letters to Miss Kibbe, his future wife: 

"Illinois College, November 12, 1834. 
"My dear Girl: 

"Soon after writing my last, I determined to spend the vaca- 
tion in looking into the state of common schools in Illinois. I 
have been absent about seven weeks, have passed through some 
dozen or fifteen counties, and delivered public addresses in all 
the county-seats and principal villages. 

"The result is that in all the counties I have visited, and many 
others to which I have written, they have resolved to call county 
meetings and elect delegates to the State convention to be held 
at Vandalia next December to discuss the subject of common 
schools, and lay the subject before the people and the Legis- 
lature. My success has been better than I expected, and I 
hope great good will result. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 


"Illinois CollegEj January i, 1835. 
"Dear Girl: 

"As to common schools, things are going on well. The con- 
vention met, as proposed, at Vandalia. I was appointed a mem- 
ber from Morgan County, but could not attend. Therefore I 
cannot give you all the particulars at present. In general, how- 
ever, they presented a memorial to the Legislature, which is 
now under consideration by that body, and also an address to 
the people, now in press ; and the friends of education believe 
that it will at last result in a good system of common schools 
established by law throughout the State — which is undoubtedly 
at present a great desideratum. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

On November 13, 1834, Professor Turner delivered an ad- 
dress in Springfield, Illinois, on the subject of "Common. 
Schools." During the summer he had traveled about five hun- 
dred miles through the central part of the State, lecturing on 
the same subject. He gave a clear and concise account of the 
common schools in the United States, dividing them into two 
groups, "poor schools" and "free schools," proving the justice 
of the classification by quoting statistics and by what he had 
learned during his trip over the State the previous summer. 
He explained the necessity for good schools in Illinois, and sug- 
gested ways in which they could be secured. In the following 
extract from another lecture, on "The American System of 
Education as Regards its Application to Illinois," delivered in 
September, 1837, it may be seen that already the plan of con- 
centration and cooperation was in his mind. He said : 

"While others are still contesting the boundaries of human 
freedom and adjusting the restraints of human depravity, we 
would give unlimited scope to the one by exterminating the 


other from the face of the earth. With these ends in view, it 
devolves on us to augment the facilities, the resources, and 
the completion of knowledge, until a royal road shall be paved 
from the threshold of every cabin in the land to the open doors 
and waiting honors of our most magnificent temples of science. 
If by council, concert, and cooperation we concentrate our 
energies and husband our resources to the utmost, who can 
overestimate the final results ? But if we fling the experience 
of the past and the advantages of the present to the winds, and 
each for himself rushes on in his own solitary career of ex- 
periment and effort, — beleaguering and jading the public mind 
and exhausting the public resources with our own isolated and 
selfish schemes, — what a fearful retribution awaits both us and 
those who are to come after us!" 

In 1840 Mr. John S. Wright of Chicago, editor of an agri- 
cultural paper that later developed into the Prairie Farmer, 
advocated a normal school. In 1843 the Legislature of Illinois 
passed the following legislation concerning the handling of 
money received by the State from its sale of government lands : 

"An act to provide for the receipt of the distributive share 
of this State of the proceeds of the sale of the public lands. 

"Sec. I. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, 
represented in the General Assembly, That the Governor of 
this State be, and he is hereby authorized and empowered, by 
himself, or by his accredited agent, to receive from the treasury 
of the United States any and all sum or sums of money now 
due, or which may become due, to this State under the pro- 
visions of an act of the Congress of the United States of Amer- 
ica, entitled 'An act to appropriate the proceeds of the sales 
of the public lands, and to grant preemption rights,' approved 
September fourth, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, 
and to execute any needful and proper voucher therefor. 

"Approved, February 21st, 1843." 


In 1844 an educational convention was held in Peoria, when 
the subject of greatest interest under discussion was the sup- 
port of public schools by taxation. In 1846 another educa- 
tional convention was held in Chicago^ where the first Teach- 
ers' Institute was organized. It still continues, under the name 
of the Illinois Teachers Association, and is attended by its 
members from all over the State — university and college presi- 
dents and professors, as well as teachers in the public schools — 
during the holidays each year, to discuss subjects and questions 
of interest to students and teachers. 

During these years Professor Turner took an active part in 
these meetings, and corresponded with many prominent edu- 
cators in various parts of the United States, among the num- 
ber being Henry L. Tappan of Norfolk, Virginia, later Presi- 
dent of the University of Michigan, and John Blatchford of 
Chicago. An extract from a letter to Professor Turner from 
Jonathan Blanchard, President of Knox College, Galesburg, 
Illinois, illustrates how the minds of these men were already 
turned toward industrial education : 

"Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, October 19, 1848. 
"Dear Brother: 

"I am just returning from the East, and find your letter 
with others awaiting my return. I saw nothing of Mr. Kings- 
bury. I wish you would advise him to come here and see us. 
I cordially wish he would endow a Professorship of Agri- 
culture, Horticulture, and Pomology for you here, or at least 
pay you for a course of lectures. I pine for a professorship 
of the blessed green earth. If I could get the endowment I 
would move the Legislature to adopt it as a State agricultural 
foundation, though it would raise a tumult of sect if I should 
move them for funds. 

"Very truly, yours in Christ, 
"J. Blanchard." 




T N 1850 Professor Turner had been at work for nearly twenty 
■*■ years promoting the cause of general education in Illinois, 
observing the especial needs of the State, and considering how 
they could best be filled. On May 13 of that year he formu- 
lated his idea in an address entitled "A Plan for a State Uni- 
versity for the Industrial Classes," which he gave, as president 
of the Illinois Teachers Institute, at the annual meeting of that 
body in Griggsville, Illinois. In this address he proposed not 
only the foundation of a State university for the agricultural 
and general industrial classes in Illinois, but a system in all 
the States of the Union. A few years later, in delivering an 
address at dedication of a new high school building at Griggs- 
ville, he spoke of this first public announcement of his idea as 
follows : 

"Citizens of Griggsville : Some here will recollect that a few 
years ago I delivered an address to you in this place, the first 
that I ever did deliver on industrial education. For several 
years the advocates of that scheme were branded in the public 
print with all sorts of opprobrious epithets by the long-eared 
guardians of our faith, our morals, and our civilization. We 
were denounced as ruthless and visionary agitators and out- 
laws. The bill for richly and appropriately endowing such in- 
stitutions, involving the expenditure of millions of money, is 
now favorably and hopefully before Congress, and great sov- 
ereign States are disputing, through the press, about the honor 
of having originated the scheme. It is my own firm belief 
that you are the first people in the Union, and the first in the 
civilized world, that ever gave to that scheme a warm, earnest, 


GRIGGSVILLE, MAY 13, 1850 75 

and decided support. Certainly, the reception you gave it led 
me first to regard it as practically hopeful as well as truly 

This speech, which gave the first impetus to the movement 
that established the great State land-grant universities of this 
country, was as follows: 

"All civilized society is, necessarily, divided into two distinct 
cooperative, not antagonistic, classes: a small class, whose 
proper business it is to teach the true principles of religion, law, 
medicine, science, art, and literature ; and a much larger class, 
who are engaged in some form of labor in agriculture, com- 
merce, and the arts. For the sake of convenience, we will desig- 
nate the former the professional, and the latter the industrial 
class ; not implying that each may not be equally industrious, 
the one in their intellectual, the other in their industrial pur- 
suits. Probably in no case would society ever need more than 
five men out of one hundred in the professional class, leaving 
ninety-five in every hundred in the industrial ; and, so long as 
so many of our ordinary teachers and public men are taken 
from the industrial class, as there are at present, and probably for generations to come, we do not really need over 
one professional man for every hundred, leaving ninety-nine in 
the industrial class. 

"The vast difference, in the practical means, of an appropri- 
ate liberal education, suited to their wants and their destiny, 
which these two classes enjoy, and ever have enjoyed the world 
over, must have arrested the attention of every thinking man. 
True, the same general abstract science exists in the world for 
both classes alike ; but the means of bringing this abstract truth 
into effectual contact with the daily business and pursuits of 
the one class does exist, while in the other case it does not 
exist, and never can till it is new created. 

"The one class have schools, seminaries, colleges, universi- 


ties, apparatus, professors, and multitudinous appliances for 
educating and training them, for months and years, for the 
peculiar profession which is to be the business of their life; 
and they have already created, each class for its own use, a vast 
and voluminous literature that would well-nigh sink a whole 
navy of ships. 

"But where are the universities, the apparatus, the professors, 
and the literature specifically adapted to any one of the indus- 
trial classes ? Echo answers. Where ? In other words, society 
has become, long since, wise enough to know that its teachers 
need to be educated ; but it has not yet become wise enough to 
know that its workers need education just as much. In these 
remarks I have not forgotten that our common schools are 
equally adapted and applied to all classes ; but reading, writing, 
etc., are, properly, no more education than gathering seed is 
agriculture, or cutting ship-timber navigation. They are the 
mere rudiments, as they are called, or means — the mere in- 
strument of an after education; and, if not so used, they 
are and can be of little more use to the possessor than an ax 
in the garret or a ship rotting upon the stocks. 

"Nor am I unmindful of the efforts of the monarchs and 
aristocrats of the Old World in founding schools for the 'fif- 
teenth cousins' of their order, in hopes of training them into 
a sort of genteel farmers, or rather overseers of farmers ; nor 
yet of the several 'back fires' (as the Prairie Farmer signifi- 
cantly designates them) set by some of our older professional 
institutions to keep the rising and blazing thought of the in- 
dustrial masses from burning too furiously. They have hauled 
a canoe alongside of their huge professional steamships and 
invited all the farmers and mechanics of the State to jump on 
board and sail with them; but the difficulty is, they will not 
embark. We thank them for even this courtesy. It shows 
that their hearts are yearning toward us, notwithstanding the 
ludicrous awkwardness of their first endeavors to save us. 

"An answer to two simple questions will perhaps sufficiently 

GRIGGSVILLE, MAY 13, 1850 ^7 

indicate our ideas of the whole subject, though that answer 
on the present occasion must necessarily be confined to a bare 
outline. The first question, then, is this: 

"I. What do the industrial classes want? 

"II. How CAN that want be supplied? 

"The first question may be answered in few words. They 
want, and they ought to have, the same facilities for under- 
standing the true philosophy, the science and the art of their 
several pursuits (their life business), and of efficiently apply- 
ing existing knowledge thereto, and widening its domain, which 
the professional classes have long enjoyed in their pursuits. 
Their first labor is, therefore, to supply a vacuum from foun- 
tains already full, and bring the living waters of knowledge 
within their own reach. Their second is, to help fill the foun- 
tains with still greater supplies. They desire to depress no 
institution, no class whatever; they only wish to elevate them- 
selves and their pursuits to a position in society to which all 
men acknowledge they are justly entitled, and to which they 
also desire to see them aspire. 

"II. How, then, can that want be supplied? 

"In answering this question, I shall endeavor to present, 
with all possible frankness and clearness, the outline of im- 
pressions and convictions that have been gradually deepening in 
my own mind, for the past twenty years, and let them pass for 
whatever the true friends of the cause may think them worth. 

"And I answer, first, negatively, that this want cannot be 
supplied by any of the existing institutions for the professional 
classes, nor by any incidental appendage attached to them as 
a mere secondary department. 

"These institutions were designed and adapted to meet the 
wants of the professional classes, as such — especially the cler- 
ical order ; and they are no more suited to the real wants of the 
industrial class than the institution we propose for them would 
be suited to the professional class. 

"Their whole spirit and aim is, or should be, literary and 


intellectual — ^not practical and industrial ; to make men of books 
and ready speech — ^not men of work, and industrial, silent 
thought. But the very best classical scholars are often the 
very worst practical reasoners; and that they should be made 
workers is contrary to the nature of things, the fixed laws of 
God. The whole interest, business, and destiny for life of the 
two classes run in opposite lines ; and that the same course of 
study should be equally well adapted to both is as utterly im- 
possible as that the same pursuits and habits should equally 
concern and benefit both classes. 

"The industrial classes know and feel this, and therefore 
they do not, and will not, patronize these institutions, only so 
far forth as they desire to make professional men for public 
use. As a general fact, their own multitudes do, and will for- 
ever, stand aloof from them ; and, while they desire to foster 
and cherish them for their own appropriate uses', they know 
that they do not, and can not, fill the sphere of their own urgent 
industrial wants. They need a similar system of liberal educa- 
tion for their own class, and adapted to their own pursuits; 
to create for them an industrial literature, adapted to their pro- 
fessional wants ; to raise up for them teachers and lecturers for 
subordinate institutes ; and to elevate them, their pursuits, and 
their posterity to that relative position in human society for 
which God designed them. 

"The whole history of education, both in Protestant and 
Catholic countries, shows that we must begin with the higher 
institutions, or we can never succeed with the lower; for the 
plain reason that neither knowledge nor water will run uphill. 
No people ever had, or ever can have, any system of common 
schools and lower seminaries worth anything until they have 
first founded their higher institutions and fountains of knowl- 
edge from which they could draw supplies of teachers, etc., for 
the lower. We would begin, therefore, where all experience 
and common sense show that we must begin, if we would effect 
anything worthy of an effort. 

GRIGGSVILLE, MAY 13, 1850 79 

"In this lAeiv of the case, the first thing wanted in this proc- 
ess is a National Institute of Science, to operate as the great 
central luminary of the national mind, from which all minor 
institutions should derive light and heat, and toward which 
they should also reflect back their own. This primary want is 
already, I trust, supplied by the Smithsonian Institute, endowed 
by James Smithson, and incorporated by the United States 
Congress at Washington, D. C. 

"To cooperate with this noble institute, and enable the in- 
dustrial classes to realise its benefits in practical life, we need 
a University for the Industrial Classes in each of the States, 
with their consequent subordinate institutes, lyceums, and high 
schools in each of the counties and towns. 

"The objects of these institutes should be to apply existing 
knowledge directly and efficiently to all practical pursuits and 
professions in life, and to extend the boundaries of our present 
knowledge in all possible practical directions. 

"Plan for the State University. — There should be connected 
with such an institution, in this State, a sufficient quantity of 
land, of variable soil and aspect, for all its needful annual ex- 
periments and processes in the great interests of agriculture 
and horticulture. 

"Buildings of appropriate size and construction for all its 
ordinary and special uses; a complete philosophical, chemical, 
anatomical, and industrial apparatus; a general cabinet, em- 
bracing everything that relates to, illustrates, or facilitates any 
one of the industrial arts, especially all sorts of animals, birds, 
reptiles, insects, trees, shrubs, and plants found in this State 
and adjacent States. 

"Instruction should be constantly given in the anatomy and 
physiology, the nature, instincts, and habits of all animals, in- 
sects, trees, and plants; their laws of propagation, primogeni- 
ture, growth, and decay, disease and health, life and death; 
on the nature, composition, adaptation, and regeneration of 
soils; on the nature, strength, durability, preservation, perfec- 


tion, composition, cost, use, and manufacture of all materials 
of art and trade ; on political, financial, domestic, and manual 
economy (or the saving of labor of the hand) to all. industrial 
processes ; on the true principles of national, constitutional, and 
civil law, and the true theory and art of governing and con- 
trolling or directing the labor of men in the State, the family, 
shop, and farm ; on the laws of vicinage, or the laws of courtesy 
and comity between neighbors, as such, and on the principles 
of health and disease in the human subject, so far at least as 
is needful for household safety ; on the laws of trade and com- 
merce, ethical, conventional, and practical ; on bookkeeping and 
accounts; and, in short, in all those studies and sciences, of 
whatever sort, which tend to throw light upon any art or em- 
ployment which any student may desire to master, or upon 
any duty he may be called to perform, or which may tend to 
secure his moral, civil, social, and industrial perfection as a 

"No species of knowledge should be excluded, practical or 
theoretical; unless, indeed, those specimens of "organized ig- 
norance' found in the creeds of party politicians and sectarian 
ecclesiastics should be mistaken by some for a species of knowl- 

"Whether a distinct classical department should be added, 
or not, would depend on expediency. It might be deemed best 
to leave that department to existing colleges as their more ap- 
propriate work, and to form some practical and economical 
connection with them for that purpose; or it might be best to 
attach a classical department in due time to the institution 

"To facilitate the increase and practical application and dif- 
fusion of knowledge, the professors should conduct, each in 
his own department, a continued series of annual experiments. 

"For example, let twenty or more acres of each variety of 
grain (each acre accurately measured) be annually sown, with 
some practical variation on each acre, as regards the quality 

GRIGGSVILLE, MAY 13, 1850 81 

and preparation of the soil, the kind and quantity of seed, the 
time and mode of sowing or planting, the time and modes and 
processes of cultivation and harvesting, and an accurate ac- 
count kept of all costs, labor, etc., and of the final results. Let 
analogous experiments be tried on all the varied products of 
the farm, the fruit-yard, the nursery, and the garden; on all 
modes of crossing, rearing, and fattening domestic animals, 
under various degrees of warmth and light, with and without 
shelter ; on green, dry, raw, ground, and cooked food, cold and 
warm ; on the nature, causes, and cure of their various diseases, 
both of those on the premises and of those brought in from 
abroad; and advice given, and annual reports made on those 
and all similar topics. Let the professors of physiology and 
entomology be ever abroad at the proper seasons, with the need- 
ful apparatus for seeing all things visible and invisible, and 
scrutinizing the latent causes of all those blights, blasts, rots, 
rusts, and mildews which so often destroy the choicest products 
of industry, and thereby impair the health, wealth, and com- 
fort of millions of our fellow men. Let the professor of chem- 
istry carefully analyze the various soils and products of the 
State, retain specimens, give instruction, and report on their 
various qualities, adaptions, and deficiencies. 

"Let similar experiments be made in all other interests of 
agriculture and mechanic or chemical art, mining, merchandise, 
and transportation by water and by land, and daily practical 
and experimental instruction given to each student in attendance 
in his own chosen sphere of research or labor in life. Especially 
let the comparative merits of all labor-saving tools, instruments, 
machines, engines, and processes be thoroughly and practically 
tested and explained, so that their benefits might be at once 
enjoyed, or the expense of their cost avoided by the unskilful 
and unwary. 

"It is believed by many intelligent men that from one third 
to one half the annual products of this State are annually lost 
from ignorance on the above topics. And it can scarcely be 


doubted that in a few years the entire cost of the whole institu- 
tion would be annually saved to the State in the above interests 
alone, aside from all its other benefits, intellectual, moral, social, 
and pecuniary. 

"The apparatus required for such a work is obvious. There 
should be grounds devoted to a botanical and common garden, 
to orchards and fruit-yards, to appropriate lawns and prom- 
enades, in which the beautiful art of landscape-gardening could 
be appropriately applied and illustrated, to all varieties of pas- 
ture, meadow, and tillage needful for the successful prosecu- 
tion of the needful annual experiments. And on these grounds 
should be collected and exhibited a sample of every variety of 
domestic animal, and of every tree, plant, and vegetable that 
can minister to the health, wealth, or taste and comfort of the 
people of the State; their nature, habits, merits, production, 
improvement, culture, diseases, and accidents thoroughly scru- 
tinized, tested, and made known to the students and to the 
people of the State. 

"There should also be erected a sufficient number of build- 
ings and out-buildings for all the purposes above indicated, 
and a repository, in which all the ordinary tools and implements- 
of the institution should be kept, and models of all other useful 
implements and machines from time to time collected, and 
tested as they are proffered to public use. At first it would 
be for the interest of inventors and vendors to make such de- 
posits. But, should similar institutions be adopted in other 
States, the general government ought to create in each State 
a general patent office, attached to the universities, similar ta 
the existing deposits at Washington, thus rendering this depart- 
ment of mechanical art and skill more accessible to the great 
mass of the people of the Union. 

"I should have said, also, that a suitable industrial library- 
should be at once procured, did not all the world know such 
a thing to be impossible, and that one of the first and most 
important duties of the professors of such institutions will; 

GRIGGSVILLE, MAY 13, 1850 83 

be to begin to create, at this late hour, a proper practical lit- 
erature and series of text-books for the industrial classes. 

"As regards the professors, they should, of course, not only 
be men of the most eminent, practical ability in their several 
departments, but their connection with the institution should 
be rendered so fixed and stable as to enable them to carry 
through such designs as they may form, or all the peculiar 
benefits of the system would be lost. 

"Instruction, by lectures and otherwise, should be given 
mostly in the colder months of the year, leaving the professors 
to prosecute their investigations, and the students their neces- 
sary labor, either at home or on the premises, during the warmer 

"The institution should be open to all classes of students 
above a fixed age, and for any length of time, whether three 
months or seven years, and each taught in those particular 
branches of art which he wishes to pursue, and to any extent, 
more or less. And all should pay their tuition and board bills, 
in whole or in part, either in money or necessary work on the 
premises — regard being had to the ability of each. 

"Among those who labor, medals and testimonials of merit 
should be given to those who perform their tasks with most 
promptitude, energy, care, and skill; and all who prove indo- 
lent or ungovernable excluded at first from all part in labor, 
and speedily, if not thoroughly reformed, from the institution 
itself; and here, again, let the law of nature, instead of the 
law of rakes and dandies, be regarded, and the true impression 
ever made on the mind of all around, that work alone is hon- 
orable, and indolence certain disgrace, if not ruin. 

"At some convenient season of the year, the commencement, 
or annual fair, of the university should be holden through a 
succession of days. On this occasion the doors of the insti- 
tution, with all its treasures of art and resources of knowledge, 
should be thrown open to all classes, and as many other objects 
of agricultural or mechanical skill gathered from the whole 


State as possible, and presented by the people for inspection 
and premium on the best of each kind; judgment being ren- 
dered, in all cases, by a committee wholly disconnected with 
the institution. On this occasion all the professors, and as 
many of the pupils as are sufficiently advanced, should be con- 
stantly engaged in lecturing and explaining the divers objects 
and interests of their departments. In short, this occasion 
should be made the great annual gala day of the institution, 
and of all the industrial classes, and all other classes in the 
State, for the exhibition of their products and their skill, and 
for the vigorous and powerful diffusion of practical knowledge 
in their ranks, and a more intense enthusiasm in its extension 
and pursuit. 

"As matters now are, the world has never adopted any ef- 
ficient means for the application and diffusion of even the prac- 
tical knowledge which does exist. True, we have fairly got 
the primer, the spelling-book, and the newspaper abroad in 
the world, and we think that we have done wonders ; and so, 
comparatively, we have. But if this is a wonder, there are 
still not only wonders, but, to most minds, inconceivable mir- 
acles, from new and unknown worlds of light, soon to break 
forth upon the industrial mind of the world. 

"Here, then, is a general, though very incomplete, outline 
of what such an institution should endeavor to become. Let 
the reader contemplate it as it will appear when generations 
have perfected it in all its magnificence and glory ; in its means 
of good to man, to all men of all classes; in its power to evolve 
and diffuse practical knowledge and skill, true taste, love of 
industry, and sound morality — not only through its appa- 
ratus, experiments, instructions, and annual lectures and re- 
ports, but through its thousands of graduates, in every pur- 
suit in life, teaching and lecturing in all our towns and vil- 
lages; and then let him seriously ask himself, is not such an 
object worthy of at least an effort, and worthy of a State 
which God himself, in the very act of creation, designed to 

GRIGGSVILLE, MAY 13, 1850 85 

be the first agricultural and commercial State on the face of 
the globe? 

"Who should set the world so glorious an example of edu- 
cating their sons worthily of their heritage, their duty, and 
their destiny, if not the people of such a State ? In our country 
we have no aristocracy, with the inalienable wealth of ages 
and constant leisure and means to perform all manner of use- 
ful experiments for their own amusement ; but we must create 
our nobility for this purpose, as we elect our rulers, from our 
own ranks, to aid and serve, not to domineer over and control 
us. And, this done, we will not only beat England and beat 
the world in yachts and locks and reapers, but in all else that 
contributes to the well being and true glory of man. 

"I maintain that if every farmer's and mechanic's son in 
this State could now visit such an institution but for a single 
day in the year, it would do him more good in arousing and 
directing the dormant energies of mind than all the cost in- 
curred, and far more good than many a six months of pro- 
fessed study of things he will never need and never want to 

"As things now are, our best farmers and mechanics, by 
their own native force of mind, by the slow process of indi- 
vidual experience, come to know, at forty, what they might 
have been taught in six months at twenty ; while a still greater 
number of the less fortunate, or less gifted, stumble on through 
life almost as ignorant of every true principle of their art as 
when they began. A man of real skill is amazed at the slovenly 
ignorance and waste he everywhere discovers on all parts of 
their premises, and still more to hear them boast of their ig- 
norance of all 'book farming,' and maintain that 'their chil- 
dren can do as well as they have done' ; and it certainly would 
be a great pity if they could not. 

"The patrons of our universitiy would be found in the for- 
mer, not in the latter, class. The man whose highest concep- 
tion of earthly bliss is a log hut in an uninclosed yard, where 


pigs of two species are allowed equal rights, unless the four- 
legged tribe chance to get the upper hand, will be found no 
patron of industrial universities. Why should he be? He 
knows it all already. 

"There is another class of untaught farmers who devote all 
their capital and hired labor to the culture, on a large scale, of 
some single product, which always pays well when so pro- 
duced on a fresh soil, even in the most unskilful hands. Now, 
such men often increase rapidly in wealth, but it is not by their 
skill in agriculture, for they have none — their skill consists in 
the management of capital and labor; and deprive them of 
these, and confine them to the varied culture of a small farm, 
and they would starve in five years, where a true farmer would 
amass a small fortune. This class are, however, generally the 
fast friends of education, though many a looker-on will cite 
them as instances of the uselessness of acquired skill in farm- 
ing, whereas they should cite them only as a sample of the 
resistless power of capital even in comparatively unskilful 

"Such institutions are the only possible remedy for a caste 
education, legislation, and literature. If any one class provide 
for their own liberal education in the State, as they should do, 
while another class neglect this, it is as inevitable as the law 
of gravitation that they should form a ruling caste or class by 
themselves, and wield their power more or less for their own 
exclusive interests, and the interests of their friends. 

"If the industrial were the only educated class in the State, 
the caste power in their hands would be as much stronger than 
it now is as their numbers are greater. But now industrial 
education has been wholly neglected, and the various industrial 
classes left still ignorant of matters of the greatest moment 
pertaining to their vital interests, while the professions have 
been studied till trifles and fooleries have been magnified into 
matters of immense importance, and tornadoes of windy words 
and barrels of innocent ink shed over them in vain. 

GRIGGS VILLE, MAY 13, 1850 87 

"This, too, is the inevitable result of trying to crowd all 
liberal practical education into one narrow sphere of human 
life. It crowds their ranks with men totally unfit by nature 
for professional service. Many of these, under a more con- 
genial culture, might have become, instead of the starving 
scavengers of a learned profession, the honored members of an 
industrial one. Their love of knowledge was indeed amiable 
and highly commendable; but the necessity which drove them 
from their natural sphere in life, in order to obtain it, is truly 

"But such a system of general education as we now propose 
would (in ways too numerous now to mention) tend to increase 
the respectability, power, numbers, and resources of the true 
professional class. 

"Nor are the advantages of the mental and moral discipline 
of the student to be overlooked ; indeed, I should have set them 
down as most important of all, had I not been distinctly aware 
that such an opinion is a most deadly heresy; and I tremble 
at the thought of being arraigned before the tribunal of all 
the monks and ecclesiastics of the Old World, and no small 
number of their progeny in the New. 

"It is deemed highly important that all in the professional 
classes should become writers and talkers; hence, they are so 
incessantly drilled in all the forms of language, dead and liv- 
ing, though it has become quite doubtful whether, even in their 
case, such a course is most beneficial, except in the single case 
of the professors of literature and theology, with whom these 
languages form the foundation of their professions and the 
indispensable instruments of their future art in life. 

"No inconsiderable share, however, of the mental discipline 
that is attributed to this peculiar course of study, arises from 
daily intercourse, for years, with minds of the first order in 
their teachers and comrades, and would be produced under 
any other course, if the parties had remained harmoniously 
together. On the other hand, a classical teacher who has no 


original, spontaneous power of thought, and knows nothing 
but Latin and Greek, however perfectly, is enough to stultify 
a whole generation of boys and make them all pedantic fools 
like himself. The idea of infusing mind, or creating or even 
materially increasing it, by the daily inculcation of unintelligible 
words — all this awful wringing to get blood out of a turnip — 
will, at any rate, never succeed except in the hands of the 
eminently wise and prudent, who have had long experience 
in the process ; the plain, blunt sense of the unsophisticated will 
never realize cost in the operation. There are, moreover, prob- 
ably, few men who do not already talk more, in proportion to 
what they really know, than they ought to. This chronic diar- 
rhoea of exhortation, which the social atmosphere of the age 
tends to engender, tends far less to public health than many 
suppose. The history of the Quakers shows that more sound 
sense, a purer morality, and a more elevated practical piety 
can exist, and does exist, entirely without it, than is commonly 
found with it. 

"Indeed, I think the exclusive and extravagant claims set 
up for ancient lore, as a means of disciplining the reasoning 
powers, simply ridiculous when examined in the light of those 
ancient worthies who produced that literature, or the modern 
ones who have been most devoted to its pursuit in this country 
and in Europe. If it produces infallible practical reasoners, we 
have a great many thousand infallible antagonistic truths, and 
ten thousand conflicting paths of right, interest, duty, and sal- 
vation. If any man will just be at the trouble to open his 
eyes and his ears, he can perceive at a glance how much this 
evasive discipline really does, and has done, for the reasoning 
faculty of man, and how much for the power of sophistical 
cant and stereotyped nonsense ; so that if obvious facts, instead 
of verbose declamation, are to have any weight in the case, I 
am willing to join issue with the opposers of the proposed 
scheme, even on the bare ground of its superior adaptation to 
develop the mental power of its pupils. 

GRIGGS VILLE, MAY 13, 1850 89 

"The most natural and effectual mental discipline possible 
for any man arises from setting him to earnest and constant 
thought about things he daily does, sees, and handles, and all 
their connected relations and interests. The final object to be 
attained, with the industrial class, is to make them thinking 
laborers; while of the professional class we should desire to 
make laborious thinkers; the production of goods to feed 
and adorn the body being the final end of one class of 
pursuits, and the production of thought to do the same for 
the mind the end of the other. But neither mind nor body 
can feed on the offals of preceding generations. And this 
constantly recurring necessity of reproduction leaves an equally 
honorable, though somewhat different, career of labor and 
duty open to both, and, it is readily admitted, should and 
must vary their modes of education and preparation accord- 

"It may do for the man of books to plunge at once amid the 
catacombs of buried nations and languages, to soar away to 
Greece and Rome, or Nova Zembla, Kamchatka, and the fixed 
stars, before he knows how to plant his own beans, or harness 
his own horse, or can tell whether the functions of his own 
body are performed by a heart, stomach, and lungs, or with 
a gizzard or gills. But for the man of work thus to bolt away 
at once from himself and all his pursuits in after life contra- 
venes the plainest principles of nature and common sense. No 
wonder such educators have ever deemed the liberal culture 
of the industrial classes an impossibility; for they have never 
tried nor even conceived of any other way of educating them 
except that by which they are rendered totally unfit for their 
several callings in after life. How absurd would it seem to 
set a clergyman to plowing and studying the depredations of 
blights, insects, the growing of crops, etc., in order to give- 
him habits of thought and mental discipline for the pulpit ; yet 
this is not half as ridiculous, in reality, as the reverse absurdity 
of attempting to educate the man of work in unknown tongues. 


abstract problems and theories, and metaphysical figments and 

"Some, doubtless, will regard the themes of such a course 
of education as too sensuous and gross to lie at the basis of a 
pure and elevated mental culture. But the themes themselves 
cover all possible knowledge and all modes and phases of sci- 
ence, abstract, mixed, and practical. In short, the field embraces 
all that God has made, and all that human art has done; and 
if the created universe of God and the highest art of man are 
too gross for our refined uses, it is a pity the 'morning stars 
and the sons of God' did not find it out as soon as the blunder 
was made. But, in my opinion, these topics are of quite as 
much consequence to the well being of man and the healthful 
development of mind as the concoction of the final nostrum in 
medicine, or the ultimate figment in theology and law, con- 
jectures about the galaxy, or the Greek accent; unless, indeed, 
the pedantic professional trifles of one man in a thousand are 
of more consequence than the daily vital interests of all the 
rest of mankind. 

"But can such an institution be created and endowed? 
Doubtless it can be done, and done at once, if the industrial 
classes so decide. The fund given to this State by the general 
government, expressly for this purpose, is amply sufficient, 
without a dollar from any other source; and it is a mean if 
not an illegal perversion of this fund to use it for any other 
purpose. It was given to the people, the whole people, of this 
State — not for a class, a party, or sect, or conglomeration of 
sects; not for common schools, or family schools, or classical 
schools; but for 'an university,' or seminary of a high order, 
in which should, of course, be taught all those things which 
every class of the citizens most desire to learn — their own duty 
and business for life. This, and this alone, is an university 
in the true, original sense of the term. And if an institution 
which teaches all that is needful only for the three professions 
of law, divinity, and medicine is, therefore, an university, surely 

GRIGGS VILLE, MAY 13, 1850 91 

one which teaches all that is needful for all the varied pro- 
fessions of human life is far more deserving of the name and 
the endowments of an university. 

"But in whose hands shall the guardianship and oversight 
of this fund be placed, in order to make it of any real use for 
such a purpose ? I answer, without hesitation and without fear, 
that this whole interest should, from the first, be placed di- 
rectly in the hands of the people, and the whole people, without 
any mediators or advisers, legislative or ecclesiastical, save only 
their own appointed agents, and their own jurors and courts 
of justice, to which, of course, all alike must submit. It was 
given to the people, and is the property of the people, not of 
legislators, parties, or sects ; and they ought to have the whole 
control of it, so far as is possible consistently with a due se- 
curity of the funds and needful stability of plans of action and 
instruction. This control I believe they will be found abun- 
dantly able to exercise; and more than this no well-informed 
man would desire. 

"The reasons for placing it at once and forever beyond all 
legislative and ecclesiastical control are obvious to all. For 
if under the former it will continually exist as the mere tool 
of the dominant party, and the object of jealous fear and hatred 
of their opponents ; or else it will become the mere football of 
all parties, to be kicked hither and thither as the party interests 
and passion of the hour may dictate. We well know how 
many millions of money have been worse than thrown away 
by placing professed seminaries of learning under the influence 
of party passion, through legislative control. And it is surely 
a matter for devout gratitude that our legislators have had 
wisdom enough to see and feel this difficulty, and that they 
have been led, from various causes, to hold this 'Seminary 
Fund' free from all commitment to the present hour, when the 
people begin to be convinced that they need it, and can safely 
control it; and no legislator but an aristocrat or a demagogue 
would desire to see it in other hands. 


"The same difficulty occurs as regards sects. Let the insti- 
tution be managed ever so well by any one party or sect, it is 
still certain their opponents will stand aloof from it, if they 
do not oppose and malign it for that very reason. Hence, all 
will see at once that the greatest possible care should be taken 
to free it from not only the reality but even from the suspicion 
of any such influence. Should the party in power, when the 
charter may be granted, appoint a majority of the board of 
trustees from the parties in the minority, it would show a proper 
spirit, and be, in all coming time, an example of true mag- 
nanimity, which their opponents could not fail to respect and 
to imitate, and which the people at large would highly approve. 
A victorious hero can afford to be generous as well as brave — 
none worthy of a triumph can afford to be otherwise. In all 
future appointments, also, the candidates should be elected with 
such an evident regard to merit, and disregard of all political 
and sectarian relations, as ever to carry the conviction that the 
equal good of the whole alone is sought. There can be no great 
difficulty in accomplishing all this, if it is well known in the 
outset that the people will keep their eye closely upon that man, 
whoever he may be, who, by any bargaining for votes, or any 
direct or indirect local, sinister, or selfish action or influence, 
or any evasion or postponement, or by any desire to tamper 
and amend merely to show himself off to advantage, shall in 
any way embarrass or endanger this greatest of all interests 
ever committed to a free State — ^the interest of properly and 
worthily educating all the sons of her soil. Let the people set 
on such a man, if the miscreant wretch lives, for all future 
time, a mark as much blacker than the mark set on Cain 
as midnight is darker than noonday. This is a question, 
above all others, that a man who is a man will desire to 
meet openly and frankly, like a man. Will our legislators 
do it? I, for one, believe they will. I shall not believe the 
contrary till it is proved; and I will even suggest, in general, 
a mode by which the great end may be safely gained. Let 

GRIGGSVILLE, MAY 13, 1850 93 

others, however, suggest a better one, and I will cheerfully 
accord with it. 

"Let the Governor of the State nominate a board of trust 
for the funds of the institution. Let this board consist of five 
of the most able and discreet men in the State, and let at least 
four of them be taken from each of the extreme corners of 
the State, so remote from all proximity to the possible location 
of the institution, both in person and in property, as to be free 
from all suspicion of partiality. Let the Senate confirm such 
nomination. Let this board be sworn to locate the institution 
from a regard to the interests and convenience of the people 
of the whole State. And, when they have so done, let them be 
empowered to elect twelve new members of their own body, with 
perpetual power of filling their own vacancies, each choice re- 
quiring a vote of two thirds of the whole body, and, upon any 
failure to elect at the appointed annual meeting, the Governor 
of the State to fill the vacancy for one year, if requested by 
any member of the board so to do. Let any member of the 
board who shall be absent from any part of its annual meet- 
ings thereby forfeit his seat, unless detained by sickness, certi- 
fied at the time, and the board on that occasion fill the vacancy, 
either by his reelection, or by the choice of some other man. Let 
the funds then, by the same act, pass into the hands of the 
trustees so organized, as a perpetual trust, they giving proper 
bonds for the same, to be used for the endowment and erection 
of an industrial university for the State of Illinois. 

"This board, so constituted, would be, and ought to be, re- 
sponsible to no legislature, sect, or party, but directly to the 
people themselves — to each and every citizen, in the courts of 
law and justice, so that, should any trustee of the institution 
neglect, abuse, or pervert his trust to any selfish, local, political, 
or sectarian end, or show himself incompetent for its exercise, 
every other member of the board and every citizen at large 
should have the right of impeaching him before the proper 
court, and, if guilty, the court should discharge him and order 


his place to be filled by a more suitable man. Due care should 
be taken, of course, to guard against malicious prosecutions. 

"Doubtless objections can be urged against this plan, and 
all others that can be proposed. Most of them may be at once 
anticipated, but there is not space enough to notice them here. 
Some, for example, cherish an ardent and praiseworthy desire 
for the perfection of our common schools, and desire still longer 
to use that fund for that purpose. But no one imagines that it 
can long be kept for that use, and, if it could, I think it plain 
that the lower schools of all sorts would be far more benefited 
by it here than in any other place it could be put. 

"Others may feel a little alarm when, for the first time in the 
history of the world, they see the millions throwing themselves 
aloof from all political and ecclesiastical control, and attempting 
to devise a system of liberal education for themselves ; but, on 
mature reflection, we trust they will approve the plan — or, if 
they are too old to change, their children will." 




OEVERAL bills to regulate the disposition of the Semi- 
nary Fund were introduced in the Illinois Legislatuife, 
from time to time, but none passed. The one most difficult 
to resist was proposed in 1850 by Newton Cloud of Jackson- 
ville, who recommended that the fund be divided among all 
the colleges of the State. The income and equipment of these 
colleges were inadequate to enable them to compete with East- 
ern colleges in securing students from the wealthier families 
of the West, and consequently their many friends were favor- 
ably impressed by Mr. Cloud's bill. 

In the summer of 1851 Professor Turner was invited to 
attend the last quarterly meeting of Buel Institute at Granville, 
Illinois, but could not accept. Later in the fall of 1851 he 
received an invitation to attend, in the northern part of the 
State, a convention of farmers from the counties of Putnam, 
Bureau, Henry, La Salle, Whiteside, Grundy, Fulton, Lake, 
and Winnebago. 

"Granville, Putnam County, October 29, 185 1. 

"Rev. J. B. Turner. 
"Dear Sir: 

"We regret that you were not able to meet with us. We 
had a very interesting fair; the largest body of men were 
present that I have ever seen in Illinois, and a general feeling 
of satisfaction was expressed by those present. I write at 
this time mainly to inform you of a convention of farmers 
that is to meet at Granville the third Tuesday of November 
next, at two o'clock p.m., for the purpose of adopting some 



measures to establish an agricultural school, or agricultural 
department in some school, in northern Illinois. We should 
be glad to see you at this convention and wish your assistance 
to help us to start the plan. 

"Yours respectfully, 

"Ralph Ware, on Committee." 

Professor Turner accepted this invitation, and took an active 
part in the discussions. This convention proved to be the 
birthplace of all active measures taken to interest the people 
of Illinois in industrial education. The proceedings were 
afterward prepared for publication by Professor Turner, at 
the request of the convention; for he there gave again his 
plan for an industrial university, substantially as he had given 
it a year and a half before at Griggsville. This farmers' con- 
vention at Granville, called to consider the establishment of a 
local agricultural school, resulted in the first practical appeal 
to the State Legislature for the establishment of an agricultural 
university for Illinois. The formal minutes of the business 
and resolutions of this meeting, as given in the pamphlet 
published in 1853 by the Illinois Industrial League, which was 
formed to further the movement, are worth reproducing : 

"In accordance with previous notice, a convention of far- 
mers was held at Granville, Putnam County, on Tuesday the 
eighteenth day of November, 1851. The attendance was quite 
large, and from various parts of the State. 

"The convention organized by appointing Hon. Oaks Turner, 
of Hennepin, chairman pro tern,., and Mr. M. Osman, of 
Ottawa, secretary pro tern. 

"Mr. Ralph Ware moved that a committee of three be ap- 
pointed by the chair to nominate permanent officers for the 
convention; which was agreed to; whereupon the chair ap- 
pointed Messrs. Ralph Ware, John Hise, and Sidney Pulsifer 
said committee. 


"The committee, after a few minutes' absence, returned 
and reported the following persons as permanent oflficers of 
the convention: 

"Hon. Oaks Turner, President. 

"Hon. Wm. Reddick, of Ottawa, and Professor J. B. Turner 
of Jacksonville, Vice-Presidents. 

"Mr. M. Osman, Recording Secretary. 

"Mr. Ralph Ware, of Granville, Corresponding Secretary. 

"On motion, the report was adopted and the committee dis- 

"The President then stated that he was not fully advised 
as to the real objects of the convention, and suggested that 
some one better qualified should make them known. 

"Mr. Ware then stated that, according to the call, they had 
met to take into consideration such measures as might be 
deemed most expedient to further the interests of the agri- 
cultural community, and particularly to take steps towards the 
establishment of an agricultural university. 

"On motion of Mr. Greble, a committee of three was ap- 
pointed to report business upon which the convention should 
act. The committee consisted of Mr. John Greble, Professor 
J. B. Turner, and Mr. Lewis Weston. 

"During the absence of this committee, short addresses were 
delivered by Messrs. Hise, Greble, Ware, and others. 

"The committee returned and stated that they would not 
be fully prepared to report before evening, and suggested that 
the afternoon be devoted to a general discussion of such sub- 
jects pertaining to agriculture as might present themselves. 

"A lively discussion was then commenced on various sub- 
jects, in which Powell of Mount Palatine, Butler of Spoon 
River, Greble of Putnam County, Weston, of La Salle County, 
Gilmer of Granville, Reddick of Ottawa, and others partici- 

"After which the convention adjourned until half past six 
o'clock in the evening. 


"evening session 

"The convention was called to order by the chairman. 

"Professor Turner, as chairman of the Committee on Busi- 
ness, reported the following resolutions for the future action 
of the convention: 

" 'Resolved, That we greatly rejoice in the degree of per- 
fection to which our various institutions, for the education of 
our brethren engaged in professional, scientific, and literary 
pursuits, have already attained, and in the mental and moral 
elevation which those institutions have given them, and their 
consequent preparation and capacity for the great duties in 
the spheres of life in which they are engaged ; and that we will 
aid in all ways consistent for the still greater perfection of 
such institutions. 

" 'Resolved, That as the representatives of the industrial 
classes, including all cultivators of the soil, artisans, mechan- 
ics, and merchants, we desire the same privileges and advan- 
tages for ourselves, our fellows, and our posterity, in each of 
our several pursuits and callings, as our professional brethren 
enjoy in theirs ; and we admit that it is our own fault that we 
do not also enjoy them. 

" 'Resolved, That, in our opinion, the institutions originally 
and primarily designed to meet the wants of the professional 
classes, as such, cannot, in the nature of things, meet ours, 
any more than the institutions we desire to establish for our- 
selves could meet theirs. Therefore, 

" 'Resolved, That we take immediate measures for the es- 
tablishment of a university in the State of Illinois expressly 
to meet those felt wants of each and all the industrial classes 
of our State; that we recommend the foundation of high 
schools, lyceums, institutes, etc., in each of our counties, oh 
similar principles, so soon as they may find it practicable so 
to do. 

" 'Resolved, That, in our opinion, such institutions can never 


impede, but must greatly promote, the best interests of all 
those existing institutions.' 

"After reading the above resolutions. Professor Turner pro- 
ceeded, in an able and interesting manner, to unfold his plan 
for the establishment and maintenance of the Industrial Uni- 

- "The convention then adjourned till nine o'clock to-morrow 

"Wednesday Morning, November 19. 

"Met pursuant to adjournment. 

"On motion, the resolutions were again taken up and read, 
and, after some deliberation, severally adopted. 
"Mr. Hise offered the following resolutions: 

" 'Resolved, That we approve of the general plan for an 
Illinois state university for the industrial classes, presented by 
Professor J. B. Turner, and request him to furnish the outlines 
of his plan, presented to this convention, to the Committee of 
Publication, for publication in the Prairie Farmer and all other 
papers in this State which will publish the same ; and that one 
thousand copies be published in pamphlet form for gratuitous 

" 'Resolved, That W. A. Pennell, M. Osman, L. L. Bullock, 
and Ralph Ware be a Committee of Publication. 

" 'Resolved, That the Committee of Publication forward to 
each editor in every county in the State a copy of the pub- 
lications of this convention, with a request that they should 
republish the same; and also send a copy to our Governor, 
Senators and Representatives, and State officers, and to all 
others who may be interested in the same. 

" 'Resolved, That each member of this convention do all in 
his power to promote the circulation and reading of the above 
publications, and, through this and other means, to secure, as 


far as practicable, speakers to lecture on the subject in each 
of the counties in the State. 

"■ 'Resolved, That Messrs. J. B. Turner and Marcus Morton, 
of Morgan County; James McConnell, Elijah lies, and David 
L. Gregg, of Sangamon County; John Davis, of Decatur; 
John Woods, of Quincy ; John Hise, of La Salle County ; 
Aaron Shaw, of Lawrence County ; John Dougherty, of Union 
County ; L. S. Pennington, of Whiteside County ; W. J. Phelps, 
of Elm Wood, Peoria County; and Dr. Ames, of Winnebago 
County, be a Central Committee to call a State convention, to 
meet at Springfield at an early hour of the next session of the 
Legislature, or at such other time and place as they and the 
friends of the cause may deem most expedient. 

" 'Resolved, That this convention earnestly solicit the Gov- 
ernor of this State [A. C. French] to enumerate in the call 
for an extra session of the Legislature, should one be held 
before the next regular session, the objects of this convention 
in the establishment of an industrial university, as business 
to be acted upon by that body at that time. 

" 'Resolved, That a memorial and petitions be prepared and 
furnished by the publishing committee for the purpose of pe- 
titioning the Legislature upon this subject.' 

"During the discussion of these resolutions the convention 
adjourned till i o'clock p.m. 

"afternoon session 

"Met pursuant to adjournment. 

"Mr. Rise's resolutions were again taken up and severally 

"Mr. Lofflin introduced the following resolution, which was 
adopted : 

" 'Resolved, That we earnestly solicit the people of this State 
to meet in their primary assemblies and discuss the objects of 
this convention as shall be made known by our published pro- 

GRANVILLE, NOVEMBER i8, 185 1 loi 

ceedings, and join with us in asking the Legislature to grant 
to the people of this State the fund which belongs to them, to 
aid them in establishing an institute for the industrial classes 
of this State, instead of dividing that fund among the different 
colleges now in the State, as contemplated by those institu- 

"In compliance with a request made by Mr. Thomas Ware 
and others, Professor Turner gave a short history of a num- 
ber of experiments he had . made in reference to the blight 
upon fruit trees. 

"The convention then adjourned sine die. 

"M. OsMAN, Sec'y. "Oaks Turner, Pres't." 

The newspapers in the State became interested and took up 
the subject. Many approved, but more were in opposition to 
the plan. Among the latter was Professor Turner's own home 
paper, the Morgan Journal. He replied to its editorials, clos- 
ing his last article with these words : 

"But is it to be treated as a crime that I have expended 
voluntarily time and money to propose frankly, over my own 
name and signature, my honest views of the best plan for the 
use of the State fund? Let any other man or body of men 
— who are men — come out and give the public the details of 
another plan ; then let the State choose, and I am content. 

"My appeal, and the appeal of the Farmers' and Mechanics' 
Convention at Granville, is to the interest and common sense 
of the laboring and industrial classes, and before them we are 
willing to stand or fall. Meantime, all anonymous scribblers 
may answer their own objections if they choose." 

A few friends were favorable to the plan when first pro- 
posed, as the following extracts from letters testify : 


"Mound Nursery, February 6, 1852. 

"Professor Turner. 
"My dear Sir: 

"The copy of Proceedings of Farmers' Convention, to- 
gether with your plan of industrial university, was also re- 
ceived — for which I thank you very much. In relation to 
your 'plan,' no lUinoisian who has true greatness and glory 
of his country at heart could disapprove of it. The only ob- 
jection I find is that it is too good a thing for its accomplish- 
ment to be hoped for very soon. The immobility of the masses 
is such that it seems to me it will take years of hard hammering 
to force them out of the old routine their forefathers chalked 
out for them. 

"Your friend, 

"C. R. Overman." 

"Hennepin, February 11, 1852. 

"Professor J. B. Turner. 

"My dear Sir: 

"Your favor of the 5th inst. I received last evening. The 
cause with us goes bravely on. I hear scarce a breath against 
it, nor do I expect any real opposition in this part of this 
State to it. I will see that the Buel Institute petitions Con- 
gress as you have suggested. 

"Pardon this hasty note, and believe me, 

"Yours truly, 

"Oaks Turner, 
"President of Farmers' Convention at Granville." 

"Springfield, March 11, 1852. 
"Dear Sir: 

"My absence has prevented an earlier reply to your letter 
of the 3d inst., on the subject of the Industrial University. 

GRANVILLE, NOVEMBER i8, 185 1 103 

"I am satisfied that the best period for holding a convention 
of the friends of education will be on or about the commence- 
ment of the special session of the General Assembly. The seat 
of government [Springfield], if the time requested is agreed 
on, is undoubtedly the proper place of meeting. Many advo- 
cates will arise from the opportunity which will thus be af- 
forded of personal explanations with the members of the Legis- 

"I suppose the Governor will present the matter of the 
University in such a way that it can come up for considera- 
tion. As chairman of the committee appointed by the Gran- 
ville Convention, you will no doubt feel called on to prepare 
a public notice at the proper time, and I authorize you to use 
my name in connection therewith, at your discretion. 

"Very respectfully yours, 

"D. L. Gregg."* 

"Peoria, Illinois, March 21, 1852. 

"Professor Turner. 

"Dear Sir: 

"I beg leave to send you this paper, which I have the 
honor to publish. You will please find therein that I hastened 
as soon as possible to translate your excellent plan of an indus- 
trial university and to bring it to the knowledge of the Ger- 
man public. I am very sorry that the circulation of this paper, 
because a few weeks since started, is very small, and that not 
every member of my language can read it. 

"You would very much oblige me if you would let me know 
the state of the matter, and if you would please to give me 
directions what to do to promote the realization of the plan. 

"Yours most respectfully, 

"A. ZoTZ, 
"Co-Editor of the Illinois 'Banner.' " 

♦Secretary of State. 


The following letter, from one of the Ohio members of the 
House of Representatives, shows that the subject early attracted 
attention outside of the State of Illinois. 


"Washington, April 26, 1852. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I received your letter of the 3d, and the pamphlet, both of 
which I read with great pleasure. During my service here I 
shall take great pleasure in aiding and in forwarding every 
measure to promote universal education, believing there is no 
surer means of promoting human happiness and our national 
"In haste, 

"Very truly yours, 

"L. D. Campbell." 




A SECOND convention to promote the movement of in- 
■^^ dustrial education in Illinois was held Tuesday, June 8, 
1852, at Springfield. The Industrial League report of it said: 

"Pursuant to a call by the committee appointed for that 
purpose by the Granville convention last autumn, a number of 
gentlemen met at the courthouse at Springfield on Tuesday, the 
8th inst., at nine o'clock, to consider the subject, appropriate 
education for the industrial classes. The meeting was tem- 
porarily organized by the appointment of Professor J. B. 
Turner as president and W. H. Powell as secretary. Dr. 
Kennicott offered the following resolution: 

" 'Resolved, That all persons be considered members of this 
convention who, by their own showing, are the friends of prac- 
tical industrial education, and who desire the concentration of 
the means and influences for that purpose.' 

"The resolution was adopted." 

Following the opening of the convention to the general pub- 
lic, a controversy arose between the members of the Industrial 
Convention and the advocates and representatives of some few 
of the old classical and theological colleges, who were admitted 
by courtesy to participate in the debates of the convention, which 
consumed most of the time of the convention, and but little, if 
any, impression for good was made upon the public mind.* 

*"Guests by courtesy" took possession of the meeting, and, by precon- 
certed plans, attempted, through ridicule and sarcasm, to break it up. 
Not knowing that Professor Turner was present, or perhaps forgetting that 
he was a university graduate, they hurled at the audience a volley of ques- 
tions relating to abstract and classical subjects, thinking that no one in that 
audience would be able to answer them, and that in the confusion and 



These colleges desired themselves to be made the instruments 
through which the funds of the State should be applied to the 
education of the industrial classes. This the representatives 
of these classes have at all times, in all their conventions, 
unanimously and steadfastly opposed. 

At that meeting, however, the following memorial was pre- 
sented to the Legislature : 


"memorial of the industrial convention to the senate 
and house of representatives of the state of illinois 

"The convention of the friends of the Industrial University, 
proposed to the consideration of the people of Illinois by the 
Granville convention, whose report is alluded to in the message 
of the Governor of the State, beg leave to submit to the con- 
sideration of the Senators and Representatives of the people 
the following memorial : 

"But three general modes have been publicly proposed for 
the use of the College and Seminary funds of the State. 

"I. The perpetual continuance of their use for common- 
school purposes is not seriously expected by any one, but only 
their temporary use as a loan for this noble object. 

"II. The equal distribution of their proceeds among the 
ten or twelve colleges in charge of the various religious de- 
nominations of the State, either now in existence or soon to 
arise and claim their' share in these funds, and the equally just 
claim of medical and other institutions for their share, it is 

mortification of their ignorance they would prove their unfitness to organize 
or to conduct an educational institution. Professor Turner rose in his seat 
and respectfully answered all questions. Then he returned the compliment 
by asking them the practical questions of the day, which they could not 
answer without convicting themselves of incompetency ; and when they had 
been utterly confused and confounded, he turned upon them and in the 
most scathing language depicted their ungentlemanly conduct as guests of 
an organization to which they had been invited, until they were glad to 
take refuge in flight, amid the laughter and jeers of their intended victims. 

SPRINGFIELD, JUNE 8, 1852 ' 107 

thought by your memorialists, would produce too great a di- 
vision to render these funds of much practical value either to 
these institutions or to the people of the State. Nor do they 
consider that it would make any practical difference, in this 
regard, whether the funds were paid directly by the State 
over to the trustees of these institutions, or disbursed indi- 
rectly through a new board of overseers or regents, to be 
called the University of Illinois. The plan of attempting to 
elect by State authority some smaller number of these insti- 
tutions, to enjoy the benefit of the funds, on the one hand, to 
the exclusion of others, or attempting to endow them all so 
as to fit them for the great practical uses of the industrial 
classes of the State, we trust your honorable bodies will see 
at once to be still more impracticable and absurd, if not rad- 
ically unequal and unjust in a free State like ours. 

"III. Your memorialists, therefore, desire, not the disper- 
sion by any mode, either direct or indirect, of these funds, but 
their continued preservation and concentration for the equal 
use of all classes of our citizens, and especially to meet the 
pressing necessities of the great industrial classes and interests 
of the State, in accordance with the principle suggested in the 
message of his Excellency the Governor of the State [A. C. 
French] to your honorable bodies ; and also in the recent mes- 
sage of Governor Hunt of New York to the Legislature of 
that State, and sanctioned by the approval of many of the 
wisest and most patriotic statesmen in this and other States. 

"The report of the Granville convention of farmers, here- 
with submitted and alluded to, as above noticed in the mes- 
sage of our Chief Magistrate, may be considered as one, and 
as only one, of the various modes in which this desirable end 
may be reached, and is alluded to in this .connection as being 
the only published document of any convention on this sub- 
ject, and as a general illustration of what your petitioners 
would desire, when the wisdom of the Senators and Repre- 
sentatives of the people shall have duly modified and perfected 


the general plan proposed, so as to fit it to the present re- 
sources and necessities of the State. 

"We desire that some beginning should be made, as soon 
as our statesmen may deem prudent so to do, to realize the 
high and noble ends for the people of the State proposed in 
each and all of the documents above alluded to. And if pos- 
sible on a sufficiently extensive scale to honorably justify a 
successful appeal to Congress, in conjunction with eminent 
citizens and statesmen in other States, who have expressed 
their readiness to cooperate with us, for an appropriation of 
public lands for each State in the Union for the appropriate 
endoivment of universities for the liberal education of the in- 
dustrial classes in their several pursuits in each State in the 

"And in this rich and, at least prospectively, powerful State, 
acting in cooperation with the vast energies and resources of 
this mighty confederation of united republics, even very small 
beginnings, properly directed, may at no very remote day re- 
sult in consequences more wonderful and beneficent than the 
most daring mind would now venture to predict or even con- 

"In the appropriation of those funds your memorialists 
would especially desire that a department for normal school 
teaching, to thoroughly qualify teachers for county and dis- 
trict schools, and an appropriate provision for the practical 
education of the destitute orphans of the State, should not be 

"We think that the object at which we aim must so readily 
commend itself to the good sense and patriotism both of our 
people, rulers, and statesmen, when once fully and clearly un- 
derstood, that we refrain from all argument in its favor. 

We ask only that one institution for the numerous indus- 
trial classes, the teachers and orphans of this State, and of 
each State, should be endowed on the same general principles 
and to the same relative extent as some one of the numerous 

SPRINGFIELD, JUNE 8, 1852 109 

institutions now existing in each State for the more especial 
benefit of the comparatively very limited classes in the three 
learned professions. If this is deemed immoderate or even 
impracticable, we will thankfully accept even less. 

"As to the objection that States cannot properly manage 
literary institutions, all history shows that the States in this 
country, and in Europe, which have attempted to manage them 
by proper methods, constituting a vast majority of the whole, 
have fully succeeded in their aim. While the few around us 
which have attempted to endow and organize them on wrong 
principles, condemned by all experience, have, of course, failed. 
Nor can a State charter originate railroads, or manage any 
other interest, except by proper methods and through proper 
agents. And a people or a State that cannot learn, in time, 
to manage properly and efficiently all these interests, and espe- 
cially the great interest of self-education, is obviously unfit for 
self-government, which we are not willing as yet to admit 
in reference to any State in the Union, and least of all our 

"With these sentiments deeply impressed on our hearts, and 

on the hearts of many of our more enlightened fellow citizens, 

your memorialists will never cease to pray your honorable 

bodies for that effective aid which you alone can grant. 

"Respectively submitted, 

"By order of the Committee of the Convention, 

"J. B. TuRNERj Chairman." 

The movement was now well launched. Governor French, 
in his message of 1852, had discussed the general subject of 
industrial education. The Representatives of Illinois in Con- 
gress were immediately interested. The constituency of the 
State was, of course, largely agricultural, and movements in 
its peculiar interests were naturally given attention by its po- 
litical agents. In addition, Richard Yates, then a member of 
Congress and afterward a Senator and Governor of Illinois, 


had been a student under Professor Turner in Illinois Ojllege, 
and was at once put in touch with the plan. The following let- 
ters from Mr. Yates, dated just after the second convention, 
show the early interest of himself and Senator Douglas : 

"Washington, June 25, 1852. 
"Professor J. B. Turner. 

"Dear Friend: 

"I send you by to-day's mail a copy of the Proceedings 
of the National Agricultural Convention, held in Washington 
yesterday. The Republic does not set forth my real motion. 
I presented your address to the Granville convention, and 
moved that it be referred to the Committee on Business, with 
instructions to report the subject of National and State In- 
dustrial Universities as one of the subjects which should be 
proposed for the consideration of the convention. I took occa- 
sion to refer to the plan proposed by you, with proper com- 
mendations, and referred to the message of the Governor of 
Illinois and the action of the Legislature in relation to the 
same. I have but little doubt that the Legislature will, at the 
present or next session, adopt the plan you have proposed. 
Although but little has been done in relation to the subject of 
an Agricultural Bureau,* I still hope something will yet be 
done. There is a good feeling in its behalf, and could it be 
got up in order (without a motion to suspend the rules, which 
requires a two-thirds vote, which seems impossible), it would 
pass the House, and the Senate also, without trouble. 

"I received yours. Dr. Kennicott's, and other letters in his 
behalf for his appointment at the head of the Agricultural 
Bureau, should that be established. I have not answered him, 
for the reason that, should the same be created, I have another 
name to be presented, and had that name in my mind a long 

♦The organization of this Agricultural Bureau, the forerunner of the 
Agricultural Department, by Congress had been delayed from year to year 
until the farmers all over the country were very indignant. 


time before the reception of the letters. To be plain, that 
name is yours, and you need not write declining, for my mind 
is made up and I will not be moved from my purpose. Your 
address to the Granville convention would aid me much, and 
I think I could bring an influence from the West, and also from 
the East, which perhaps you are not aware of. I say I will 
not be moved from my purpose, because I have personal 
reasons to influence me as well as public interests in view — 
the elevation of one of the instructors of my youth and one of 
the professors of my alma mater to a post where he would 
receive honor and profit, and the country great advantages. 

"Your friend, 

"Richard Yates. 

"P. S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas, who is one of the Com- 
mittee of the Agricultural Convention to prepare business, told 
me (I having to have the convention to vote and act on Wil- 
liam Bennett's Railroad Bill) that he would try and embrace 
the subject of your address." 

"Washington, July 10, 1852. 
"Dear Sir: 

' "If you have a spare copy of your address to the Granville 
convention on the subject of a State Agricultural University, 
please forward it to me. The only copy which I had was pub- 
lished in the Valley Farmer of St. Louis, and some of the Com- 
mittee at the Agricultural Convention took that off. I had the 
promise of Mr. Ewbanks to have it published in the Patent 
Office Report, but, for fear he may overlook it, I have drawn 
up a request, to be signed by Stephen A. Douglas and myself, 
which I will forward him to-morrow. The Republic has not 
gone to press yet. 

"Very respectfully, your friend, 
"Richard Yates." 




T N the fall of the same year — on November 24, 1852 — an- 
other general convention was held at Chicago, at which it 
was decided formally to organize the movement as the "Indus- 
trial League of Illinois." The Legislature was petitioned for 
a charter, which was received in the next winter. The Pro- 
ceedings of this convention are given in the pamphlet of the 
League as follows : 

"At this convention much important business was trans- 
acted, and many interesting views suggested, and speeches 
thereon, made and reported. Among other things, it was re- 
solved to organize The 'Industrial League of the State of Illi- 
nois,' which has since been chartered by our Legislature, em- 
powered to raise a fund, by subscriptions from the members 
of ten cents each per annum, and by voluntary contributions, 
to be applied to the forwarding of the objects of the conven- 
tion, and promoting the interests of the industrial classes. 

"I. By disseminating information both written and printed 
on this subject. 

"II. By keeping up a concert of action among the friends 
of the industrial classes. 

"III. By the employment of lecturers, to address citizens in 
all parts of the State. Professor J. B. Turner of Jacksonville 
was appointed principal director. 

"John Gage of Lake County, Bronson Murray of La Salle 
County, Dr. L. S. Pennington of Whiteside County, J. T. 
Little of Fulton County, and William A. Pennell of Putnam 
County, associate directors." 

"It was also 'Resolved, That this convention memorialize 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 113 

Congress for the- purpose of obtaining a grant of public lands 
to establish and endow industrial institutions in each and every 
State in the Union.' 

"The plan for an industrial university, submitted by Pro- 
fessor Turner to the Granville convention, was then called for, 
and a motion passed to discuss its principles by sections ; where- 
upon, after thus reading and discussing of its various sections, 
the general principles of the plan were approved. 

"It was also 'voted unanimously that a department for the 
education of common-school teachers be considered an essential 
feature of the plan.' 

"Professor J. B. Turner of Jacksonville, William Gooding 
of Lockport, and Dr. John A. Kennicott of Northfield were ap- 
pointed a committee to report a plan to the next convention, 
and to memorialize the Legislature for the application of the 
College and Seminary funds to this object, in accordance with 
the acts and ordinances of Congress, etc. 

"J. B. Turner, L. S. Bullock, and Ira L. Peck were also 
appointed a committee to prepare an address to the citizens of 
this State on the subject of industrial education and the estab- 
lishment of an Industrial Institution." 

The following extract is taken from the Ottawa Free Trader 
of November 24, 1852 : 


"In pursuance of a resolution of the Chicago Industrial 
Education Convention, a similar body will meet at Springfield 
on the 8th of January next. 

"It is manifestly important that those who are friendly to 
this enterprise should exhibit their interest by attending this 
convention. The next Legislature may make a final decision 
of the disposition of the Seminary Fund, and if our mechanics 
would have a word in the matter, the Springfield convention 
may be their last opportunity." 


But the "immobility of the masses" was frequently demon- 
strated in the early days of the movement, and was most dis- 
couraging. They would not attend the meetings especially 
planned for them. Great efforts were made to interest them 
through personal interviews, as well as by the public press, as 
can be seen by the following extracts from newspapers: 

"November 24, 1852. 
"To the Editor of the Springfield 'Journal' : 

"You ask for the opinion of your readers as regards the 
propriety of another convention of the friends of the Industrial 
University at Springfield, Illinois. 

"I have been informed that the members of the former con- 
vention held in this place felt somewhat surprised and ag- 
grieved at the seeming utter indifference of the people of 
Springfield and Sangamon County to the interests of these 
conventions and their cause. They propose to commence an 
institution in this State, and, if possible, in every State in the 
Union, in which every man, especially every member of the 
great industrial classes, has a deep personal interest. Now, if 
the great masses of teachers, merchants and mechanics, and 
farmers of Sangamon County cannot be made to see and feel 
that one institution in this great State, devoted primarily to 
their interests and the interests of their industrial and teaching 
professions, is needful and desirable for them and their chil- 
dren; if they cannot be induced to spend a single day or a 
single dime to turn out and listen to the subject, or to those 
who propose to advance their best interests in this way; if 
they are determined that they will not take time to hear about 
it — it can be of little use to try to hold conventions. But if 
they will come together and talk the matter over, as do the 
people in some other counties, they will soon be convinced of 
their duty and their rights, and they will soon take the matter 
into their own hands, and conventions will be found not only 
to be interesting to them, but to do good. The only argument 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 115 

now against commencing at once such an enterprise in their 
behalf is derived from the interests of the common schools. But 
there is no desire on the part of any one to meddle with any of 
the common-school funds of the State. The friends of the 
industrial classes only wish for the University and Seminary 
Fund given them by the general government for this purpose. 
They ask only for their own. J. B. Turner." 

After the organization of the Illinois Industrial League at 
the Chicago convention, the whole history of this educational 
movement in favor of industrial education was published, in 
compliance with a resolution adopted at the Springfield and 
Chicago conventions, in a little pamphlet called "The Indus- 
trial League of Illinois." Professor Turner was chairman of 
the Committee on Publication. In the Introduction Professor 
Turner said: 

"Is it said that farmers and mechanics do not and will not 

"Give them a literature and an education, then, suited to 
their actual wants, and see if it does not reform and improve 
them in this respect, as it has done their brethren in the pro- 
fessional classes. As a matter of fact, all know they now 
have no such practical, congenial literature to read; and still, 
as a general rule, they read more and know more about the 
proper pursuits of the professional classes than those classes 
do about theirs, in proportion to the opportunities they have. 

"Suppose you should supply the libraries of the divine and 
the lawyer with practical treatises on the raising of crops, the 
resuscitation and improvement of soils, and the management 
of stock, or the navigation of the polar seas, instead of books 
treating of the peculiar nature and duties of his own profession. 
Does any man suppose that these professions would exhibit 
the same love of reading and study or attain the same mental 
discipline which they now do? The idea is absurd. 


"Give a divine or a lawyer a book on agriculture, and how 
soon it is thrown aside ! And is it surprising that the farmer 
and mechanic treat other books on the same principle, and in 
the same way, for the same reason? But how greedily they 
devour, in all our periodicals and pamphlets, the few scraps 
that directly pertain to their own interests, and how soon new 
implements of life and power start up from their practical and 
creative minds out of every new idea in philosophy that dawns 
upon the race and claims its place in the crystal palaces and its 
reward at the industrial fairs of the world! And are such 
minds on this great continent to be longer left, by the million, 
without a single university or school of any sort adapted to 
the peculiar wants of their craft, while the whole energies of 
the Republic are taxed to the utmost to furnish universities, 
colleges, and schools adapted to the wants of the professional 
and military classes, who constitute not the hundredth part of 
the population, and represent not the thousandth part of the 
vital interests of any civilized and well-ordered community? 

"Are these pursuits, then, beneath the dignity of rational 
and accountable man? God himself made the first Adam a 
gardener or farmer, and kept him so till he fell from his high 
estate. The second Adam, sent to repair the ruin of this fall, 
he made a poor niechanic called 'the son of a carpenter,' who 
chose all his personal followers from the same humble class. 
Deity has pronounced his opinion on the dignity and value 
of these pursuits by the repeated acts of His wisdom and grace, 
as well as by the inflexible laws of His providence compelling 
industrial labor as the only means of. preserving health of body, 
vigor, purity of mind, and even life itself. 

"Where did Socrates, the wisest of the Greeks, and Cin- 
cinnatus, the most illustrious of the Romans, Washington, the 
father of America, and Franklin, and Sherman, and Kossuth, 
and Downing, and Hugh Miller, and a whole host of worthies 
too numerous to mention, get their education? They derived 
it from their connection with the practical pursuits of life. 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 117 

where all other men have got theirs, so far forth as it has 
proved of any practical use to themselves or the world. 

"What we want from schools is to teach men, more dull 
of apprehension, to derive their mental and moral strength 
from their own pursuits, whatever they are, in the same way 
and on the same principles, and to gather from other sources 
as much more as they find time to achieve. We wish to teach 
them to read books, only that they may the better read and 
understand the great volume of nature ever open before them. 

"Can, then, no schools and no literature, suited to the pe- 
culiar wants of the industrial classes, be created by the appli- 
cation of science to their pursuits? Has God so made the 
world that peculiar schools, peculiar applications of science, 
and a peculiar resultant literature are found indispensable to 
the highest success in the art of killing men, in all states, while 
nothing of the kind can be based on the infinitely multifarious 
arts and processes of feeding, clothing, and housing them? 
Are there no sufficient materials of knowledge and of the high- 
est mental and moral discipline in immediate connection with 
these pursuits? This is to suppose that God has condemned 
the vast majority of mankind to live in circumstances in which 
the best and highest development of their noblest faculties 
is a sheer impossibility, unless they turn aside from those 
spheres of duty to which His providence has evidently con- 
signed them. Such an assumption is as pedantic and shallow 
as it is wicked and blasphemous. For what, but for this very 
end of intellectual discipline and development, has God bound, 
the daily labors of all these sons of toil, in the shop and on 
the farm, in close and incessant contact with all the mighty 
mysteries of his own creative wisdom, as displayed in heaven 
above, and on earth beneath, and in the waters and soils that 
are under the earth? Why are there more recondite and 
profound principles of pure mathematics immediately connected 
with the sailing of a ship, or the molding and driving of a 
plow, or an ax, or a jack-plane, than with all three of the so- 


called learned professions together, if it be not intended that 
those engaged in these pursuits should derive mental culture 
as well as bodily sustenance and strength from these instru- 
ments of their art and their toil? Why has God linked the 
light, the dew-drop, the clouds, the sunshine and the storm, 
and concentrated the mighty powers of the earth, the ocean 
and the sky, directed by that unknown and mysterious force 
which rolls the spheres and arras the thunder-cloud — why are 
all these mystic and potent influences connected with the grow- 
ing of every plant, and the opening of every flower, the mo- 
tion of every engine and every implement, if he did not intend 
that each son and daughter of Adam's racte should learn, 
through the handicraft of their daily toil, to look through 
nature up to nature's God, trace His deep designs, and derive 
their daily mental and moral culture, as well as their daily 
food, from that toil that is ever encircled and circumscribed 
on all hands by the unfathomed energies of his wisdom and 
his power? No foundation for the development and culture 
of a high order of science and literature, and the noblest ca- 
pacities of mind, heart, and soul, in connection with the daily 
employments of the industrial classes! How came such a 
heathenish and apostate idea ever to get abroad in the world ? 
Was God mistaken when He first placed Adam in the garden 
instead of the academy ? or when He sentenced him to toil for 
his future salvation, instead of giving him over to abstract 
contemplation? when He made his Son a carpenter instead 
of a rabbi ? or when he made man a man instead of a monk ? 
No; God's ways are ever ways of wisdom and truth; bvit 
Satan has, in all ages, continued to put darkness for light — 
sophistry and cant for knowledge and truth; cunning and 
verbiage for wisdom and virtue; tyranny and outrage for 
government and law — ^and to fill the world with brute muscles 
and bones in one class, luxurious, insolent, and useless nerves 
and brains in another class, without either bodies or souls, 
and to call the process by which the result in the latter case 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 119 

is reached, education. From the possibility of such an educa- 
tion as this, God has, in His mercy, hitherto sheltered his de- 
fenseless poor. And if such hotbed processes are alone to be 
dignified with the name of education, then it is clearly im- 
possible that the laboring classes should ever be educated : God 
has interdicted it. Or, even if no other system of education 
is ever to be devised or attempted, except that alone which is 
most fit for the professional and the military man, it is equally 
clear that this cannot be made available to any considerable 
portion of the industrial classes." 

Following is the report of the meeting to appoint delegates 
to the Fourth Convention: 


"Vol. V. No. 49 


"Tuesday Morning, Jan. 4, 1853 

"Pursuant to public notice, a meeting was held in the court- 
house for the purpose of appointing delegates to the Industrial 
Convention, to be held in this place on the 4th inst. 

"Mr. John Armstrong was called to the chair, and John W. 
Gray appointed secretary. 

"Mr. Lumsden explained the object of the meeting, and 
concluded his very appropriate remarks by oiifering the follow- 
ing resolutions, which were separately considered and unani- 
mously adopted : 

" 'ist. Resolved, That in view of the vast influence that 
mechanics have had in all ages in the upbuilding and progress 
of the world in all the useful and enduring, equalizing and 
ennobling properties of humanity, which have given to history 
all that it is worth being known, to latest recorded time; we 


fearlessly assert that they are entitled in this land to some share 
in the special education of the age, and demand it as a right 
to ourselves and posterity. 

" '2d. Resolved, That, in the opinion of this meeting, the 
time has come when the people of the State of Illinois are 
called upon by every consideration to awaken to the subject 
of the education of the masses, and that the plan of a perma- 
nent college for the special benefit of the industrial class in 
the State, now deeply engaged in the public mind, meets with 
our hearty approval. 

" '3d. Resolved, That we are in favor of the appropriation 
by the Legislature of our State, of the College and Seminary 
Fund for the endowment of such an institution.' 

"On motion, delegates were appointed to attend the con- 
vention, and also that the Proceedings be published in each 
daily paper of this city. 

"John Armstrong, Chairman. 

"John W. Gray, Secretary." 

"The fourth convention" (records the Industrial League's 
pamphlet) "was holden at Springfield on the 8th of January, 


"At this meeting, also, a great many items of a miscellaneous 
character were brought before the convention, and discussed 
and decided upon — in almost every case by a unanimous vote. 

"The greatest harmony and good feeling prevailed among 
all the members and delegates, and the Representatives and 
executive officers of the people in the Legislature; many of 
whom, from all parts of the State, took the deepest interest in 
the subject, and made noble and eloquent speeches at their 
evening session in the Senate chamber in its behalf. It was 

"Resolved, That, inasmuch as any detailed plan of public 
instruction can only be decided and acted upon by the trustees, 
directors, or other officers of the desired institution, when 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 121 

created, it is not expedient to attempt to fix upon any such 
details in any preliminary convention of the people; and that 
the committee appointed to report on that subject be discharged 
from further duty. 

"The duties and terms of office of the League were also 
prescribed by this convention." 

After the adjournment of the convention, the following 
memorial was written, at the request of the committee, by 
Professor Turner and signed by the president (Bronson Mur- 
ray) of the convention and presented immediately to the Legis- 
lature, in accordance with a resolution passed by the convention. 
The idea of a chain of State universities for the industrial 
classes throughout the United States had been growing in 
Professor Turner's mind since his first illusion to the matter 
at Griggsville in 1850. It appears in this petition in the very 
definite form of a demand for grants of government lands for 
that purpose. The text of the petition follows : 




"To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of 
the State of Illinois: 
"We would respectfully represent: That we are members 
of the industrial classes of this State, actively and personally 
engaged in agricultural and mechanical pursuits. We are 
daily made to feel our own practical ignorance, and the misap- 
plication of toil and labor and the enormous waste of products, 
means, materials, and resources that result from it. We are 
aware that all this evil to ourselves and our country results 
from a want of knowledge of those principles and laws of 
nature that underlie our various professions, and of the proper 


means of a practical application of existing knowledge to those 
pursuits. We rejdice to know that our brethren in the several 
learned professions have to a good degree availed themselves 
of these advantages, and have for years enjoyed their benefit. 
They have universities and colleges, with apparatus, libraries 
voluminous and vast, able and learned professors and teachers, 
constantly discovering new facts, and applying all known 
principles and truths directly to the practical uses of their sev- 
eral professions and pursuits. This is as it should be. But 
we have neither universities, colleges, books, libraries, appa- 
ratus, nor teachers adapted .or designed to concentrate and 
apply even all existing knowledge to our pursuits; much less 
have we the means of efficiently exploring and examining the 
vast practical unknown that daily lies all around us, spreading 
darkness and ruin upon our best-laid plans, blighting our hopes, 
diminishing our resources, and working inevitable evil and 
loss to ourselves, to our families, and to our country. Some 
think one half — no intelligent man thinks that less than one 
third or one fourth — of the entire labor and products of our 
State are made an annual sacrifice to this needless ignorance 
and waste. Knowledge alone here is power, and our relief 
is as clearly obvious as our wants. We need the same thor- 
ough and practical application of knowledge to our pursuits 
that the learned professions enjoy in theirs, through their 
universities and their literature, schools, and libraries that have 
grown out of them. For, even though knowledge may exist, 
it is perfectly powerless until properly applied, and we have 
not the means of applying it. What sort of generals and 
soldiers would all our national science (and art) make if we 
had no military academies to take that knowledge and apply 
it directly and specifically to military life? 

"Are our classic universities, our law, medicine, and divinity 
schools, adapted to make good generals and warriors? Just 
as well as they are to make farmers and mechanics, and no 
better. Is the defense, then, of our resources of more actual 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 123 

consequence than their production? Why, then, should the 
State care for the one and neglect the other? 

"According to recent publications, only one in two hundred 
and sixty of the population of our own State is engaged in 
professional life, and not one in two hundred in the Union 
generally. A great proportion even of these never enjoyed 
the advantages of our classical and professional schools. But 
there are in the United States two hundried and twenty-five 
principal universities, colleges, and seminaries, schools, etc., 
devoted to the interest of the professional classes, besides many 
smaller ones, while there is not a single one, with liberal en- 
dowments, designed for the liberal and practical education of 
the industrial classes. No West Point as yet beams upon the 
horizon of their hope. True, as yet, our boundless national 
resources keep us, like the children of Japhet emigrating from 
the Ark, from the miserable degradation and want of older 
empires; but the resources themselves lie all undeveloped in 
some directions, wasted and misapplied in others, and rapidly 
vanishing away as centuries roll onward, under the ignorance 
and unskilfulness that directs them. We, the members of the 
industrial classes, are still compelled to work empirically and 
blindly, without needful books, schools, or means, by the slow 
process of that individual experience that lives and dies with 
the man. Our professional brethren, through their universities, 
schools, teachers, and libraries, combine and concentrate the 
practical experience of ages in each man's life. We need the 

"In monarchical Europe, through their polytechnic and agri- 
cultural schools, some successful effort has been made, in some 
departments and classes, to meet this great want of the age. 

"But in our democratic country, though entirely industrial 
and practical in all its aims and ends, no such effort has been 
efficiently made. We have in our own State no such institu- 
tions, and no practical combination of resources and means, 
that can ever produce one worthy of the end. We have not 


even a normal school for the education of our teachers, nor 
half a supply of efficient teachers even for our own common 
schools— and never can have without more attention to the 
indispensable means for their production. Hence, our com- 
mon schools are, and must continue to be, to a great extent, 
inefficient and languishing, if not absolute nuisances on our 
soil, as in some cases they now are. But the common-school 
interest is the great hope of our country, and we only desire 
to render it efficient and useful, in the only way it can be done : 
by rearing up for it competent and efficient teachers, in the 
normal department of our industrial universities. Knowing 
that knowledge, like light and water, runs downward, not up- 
ward, through human society, we would begin with the suns 
and fountains, and not with the candles and puddles, and pour 
the light and water of life down through every avenue of 
darkness below, and not begin with the darkness and drought, 
and attempt to evolve and force it upward. No State ever did, 
or ever will, succeed by this latter process. The teacher is the 
first man sought, and the life and light of the whole thing, 
from the university downward. 

"To this end, concentration is the first indispensable step. 
Leaving all our common-school funds untouched, as they now 
are, the proposed distribution of our University Fund, amount- 
ing to about $150,000, will illustrate this point. The annual 
interest of this, at six per cent, is about $9,000. If this should 
be divided among our ten or fifteen colleges, it would give 
them only from $600 to $900 each per annum. Divided among 
our hundred counties, it would give $90 to each county, for a 
high school or any other purpose. Divided as it now is among 
the million of our people, it gives nine mills, or less than one 
cent, to each person. Concentrated upon an industrial uni- 
versity, it would furnish an annual corps of skilful teachers 
and lecturers, through its normal school, to go through all our 
towns and counties, create, establish, and instruct lyceums, high 
schools, and common schools of all sorts, and, through its 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 125 

agricultural and mechanical departments, concentrating and 
diffusing the benefits of practical knowledge and experience 
over all our employments and pursuits, our farms and shops. 
Here, as elsewhere, the sun must exist before the diamonds 
and dew-drops can shine. The mountain heights must send 
down their rills and their torrents, gathered from their own 
flood and the boundless resources of the ocean and the sky, be- 
fore the desert can blossom as the rose. Money, however much 
or little, concentrated in logs, clapboards, and brick, inclosing a 
herd of listless, uneasy, and mischievous children, cannot make 
a common school. The living teacher must be there — living, 
not dead ; for dead teachers only make dead scholars the more 
dead. Nor can grammar, language, metaphysics, or abstract 
science, however accurate, voluminous, and vast, ever diffuse 
new life and new energy into our industrial pursuits. There 
practical apparatus, the thorough and accurate needful experi- 
ments, as well as the living and practical teachers, are needed 
in order even to begin the great work. This is necessarily 
expensive, quite beyond even the anticipated resources of our 
existing institutions. Hence, again, we need concentration, 
and not a miserable, useless, and utterly wasteful diffusion of 
our resources and means. 

"Throughout our State, — and throughout the whole civilized 
world in all ages, — where there has been most neglect of uni- 
versities and high seminaries, and most reliance placed by the 
people in the miserable pittance doled out to them by the State, 
like so many paupers, for the support of common schools — 
precisely there the common school will be found, for the in- 
evitable reasons above indicated, most inefhcient, weak, and 
worthless, if not positive nuisances to society; and whenever 
the reverse is found, the reverse influences of life, light, anima- 
tion, and hope beam forth from the schools at once. 

"We repeat it, the common school is our great end, our 
last hope and final joy. But we would reach and reanimate 
it under the guidance of practical common sense, as all experi- 


ence shows it must be done, as it only can be done, and we 
would reach the vital, practical interests of our industrial pur- 
suits by precisely the same means and on precisely the same 
well-known and thoroughly tried plans and principles. We 
seek no novelties. We desire no new principles. We only 
wish to apply to the great interest of the common school and 
the industrial classes precisely the same principles of mental 
discipline and thorough scientific practical instruction, in all 
their pursuits and interests, which are now applied to the pro- 
fessional and military classes. 

"The effect this must have in disciplining, elevating, and 
refining the minds and morals of our people, increasing their 
wealth and their power at home and their respect abroad, de- 
veloping not only the resources of their minds, but their soil 
and treasures of mineral, and perfecting all their materials, 
products, and arts, cannot but be seen by every intelligent mind. 

"No other enterprise so richly deserves and so urgently de- 
mands the united effort of our national strength. 

"We would, therefore, respectfully petition the honorable 
Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Illinois, 
that they present a united memorial to the Congress now as- 
sembled at Washington to appropriate to each State in the 
Union an amount of public lands not less in value than 
$500,000, for the liberal endowment of a system of industrial 
universities, one in each State in the Union, to cooperate with 
each other, and with the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, 
for the more liberal and practical education of our industrial 
classes and their teachers, in their various pursuits, for the 
production of knowledge and literature needful in those pur- 
suits, and developing to the fullest and most perfect extent 
the resources of our soil and our arts, the virtue and intelli- 
gence of our people, and the true glory of our common country. 

"We would further petition that the Executive and Legis- 
lature of our sister States be invited to cooperate with us in 
this enterprise, and that a copy of the memorial of this Legis- 

FEBRUARY 8, 1853 127 

lature be forwarded by the governors and Senates of the several 

"We would also petition that the University Fund of this 
State, if not at once applied to these practical uses, be allowed 
to remain where it now is, and its interest applied to present 
uses, until such time as the people shall be prepared to direct 
it to some more efficient use. 

"By order of the convention. 

"Bronson Murray, President." 

A similar memorial was submitted to the convention by the 
committee — consisting of his Excellency Governor French, the 
Hon. David L. Gregg, and Dr. L. S. Pennington — ^appointed 
by the Chicago convention, and accepted and forwarded to 
Congress, as ordered by that convention. 

These memorials were presented to the Senate and Repre- 
sentatives of Illinois then in session, and the merits of the 
plan fully discussed by able and eloquent advocates, and the 
following resolutions were unanimously passed by both houses, 
and received the approbation of the Executive within a month 
after the memorials were received. The official record of the 
Legislature's action is as follows: 

"Mr. Denio offered the following preamble and resolutions : 

"Of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, Relative 

to the Establishment of Industrial Universities, and for the 

Encouragement of Practical and General Education among the 

People — Unanimously Adopted. 

"Whereas, The spirit and progress of this age and country 
demand the culture of the highest order of intellectual attain- 
ment in theoretic and industrial science: and whereas, It is 
impossible that our commerce and prosperity will continue to 
increase without calling into requisition all the elements of 
internal thrift arising from the labors of the farmer, the me- 
chanic, and the manufacturer, by every fostering effort within 
the reach of the government: and whereas, A system of in- 


dustrial universities, liberally endowed in each State of the 
Union, cooperative with each other and the Smithsonian In- 
stitution at Washington, would develop a more liberal and 
practical education among the people, tend the more to intel- 
lectualize the rising generation, and eminently conduce to the 
virtue, intelligence, and true glory of our common country; 
Therefore, be it 

"Resolved, by the House of Representatives, the Senate con- 
curring herein. That our Senators in Congress be instructed, 
and our Representatives be requested, to use their best exer- 
tions to procure the passage of a law of Congress donating to 
each State in the Union an amount of public lands not less 
in value than Hve hundred thousand dollars, for liberal endow- 
ment of a system of industrial universities, one in each State 
in the Union, to cooperate with each other, and with the Smith- 
sonian Institution at Washington, for the more liberal and 
practical education of our industrial classes and their teachers ; 
a liberal and varied education adapted to the manifold want 
of a practical and enterprising people, and a provision for 
such educational facilities, being in manifest concurrence with 
the intimations of the popular will, it urgently- demands the 
united efforts of our national strength. 

"Resolved, That the Governor is hereby authorized to for- 
ward a copy of the foregoing resolutions to our Senators and 
Representatives in Congress, and to the Executive and Legis- 
lature of each of our sister States, inviting them to cooperate 
with us in this meritorious enterprise. 

"John Reynolds 
Speaker of the House of Representatives. 


Speaker of the Senate. 
"J. A. Matteson 
"Approved, February 8, 1853. Governor. 

A true copy: Attest, 

"Alexander Starne, Sec'y of State." 



T T was a year before the resolution of Illinois was formally 
■■- brought before Congress. In the meanwhile the new In- 
dustrial League of Illinois, and Professor Turner, its moving 
spirit, were hard at work to secure public support for the 
State Industrial University plan, both in Illinois and in the 
nation. It was chartered by the Illinois Legislature Febru- 
ary 8, 1853, and Professor Turner started at once lecturing, 
securing other lecturers, and circulating the pamphlets which 
the League had authorized him to prepare and publish. The 
story of the hard struggle of that year is well told by extracts 
from his letters, and by notices appearing in the newspapers 
of Illinois. 

The following letters, written by Professor Turner, were 
addressed to the Hon. Bronson Murray of Ottawa, Illinois, 
an enthusiastic friend of the Industrial University plan, and a 
most generous contributor to the daily growing expenses 
through all the dark days of this early struggle. At this time 
Professor Turner was very anxious to start Dr. Rutherford 
on a lecture tour over the State. 

■"B. Murray. 

"Dear Sir: 

"1 wrote you last week, and must bore you again. I wish 
your advice as regards Dr. Rutherford. He proposes to start 
•out at once and lecture through the State, and give his whole 
time and strength to the League, for $600 per annum and 
found, and take the risk of gathering the dimes or have other 
agents gather them after him as he goes. 

"I cannot but regard this as a God-send to us, but it may 
strike you differently. I have never known a man in the State 



so successful as a popular lecturer as Dr. Rutherford has been, 
or so acceptable to all classes. He can also give, in connec- 
tion with his University and League lectures, an occasional 
lecture on his favorite theme of physiology with his charts, 
when deemed best as a ticket lecturer, the profit of which shall 
go to the League. What say you to this move? Please ad- 
vise me. 

"The old Hunker presidents and pedants are figuring away 
again at Springfield, I learn, for the University Fund slyly. 
I threw a bomb-shell among them by mail this morning. 
Please write your friends to be on their guard against them. 

"They now propose to divide up the fund with the Catholics 
and four other sects — to the exclusion of all others, and of 
the industrial classes, too; give it to them on this odious and 
partial union of church and state. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Illinois College, February 5, 1853. 
"B. Murray, Esq. 

"Dear Sir: 

"I am in distress again. I was just exulting in our com- 
plete triumph when I heard, through Lumsden, that a bill 
was pending for a charter for the University. He and others 
may have alluded to this before to me, but, if so, I always 
supposed they referred to a charter for the League. I know 
nothing definitely — I only know the fact that somebody there 
at Springfield has drawn a bill of some sort for the incorpora- 
tion of the University. 

"We needed no such movement now — it can only do us 
harm. I did not dream it was possible so important a matter 
could come up, as it was not recommended by the convention, 
or alluded to, as I heard. 

"I am sorry for this, but we must bear it as well as we can 
and make the best of it. We must ever expect to take the 


evil with the good, and our success at Springfield (aside from 
this), I admit, was almost too good for mortals to expect. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner," 

Mr. Lumsden immediately afterward explained his motive 
for introducing a university bill in the Legislature at this time, 
in a letter to Mr. Murray: 

"Springfield, Illinois, February 16, 1853. 
"To B. Murray, Esq. 
"My dear Friend: 

"Yours of the 12th reached me to-day. I have just fin- 
ished writing some dozen letters and mailing some forty cir- 
culars. I intend to forward them to all the States and Terri- 
tories, even that of Utah. I called upon Governor Matteson 
to-day, and gave him some forty or fifty to send into the sev- 
eral States. I asked his opinion of the project of industrial 
universities. He is quite favorable. The funds in the hands 
of this State obtained from the sales of lands appropriated 
by the United States expressly for the use of a college or uni- 
versity, and the two townships for the establishment of a 
seminary of learning, cannot by the law and compact of the 
grant be ultimately used for any other purpose. The State 
can loan the funds to any purpose, but cannot apply them for 
any other purpose than for what they were given. The law 
is imperative on this point, and is similar in Missouri and 
other States. But the latest notion which the 'priests of Baal' 
have deigned to utter is that the 'state is incompetent to con- 
trol the subject of education. Where it has been tried it has 
signally failed. That the church alone is competent to edu- 
cate the people' ! ! ! I told the Protestant priest who said this 
to me that he had better keep such thoughts to himself or else 
we should know where to place him. This is the very argu- 
ment of the Papists. If our modern Protestants are going 


back in principle, they had better assume the name with full 

"Well, you seem to express alarm at the work I have been 
about, when there really is no occasion for any whatever. I 
knew that the only way to get at our object was to bring the 
subject right up in the Legislature, have it discussed, and let 
it be referred to some committee. But you need not fear but 
what I had all the matter in my mind. The rough outline 
was passed straight through the House, the amendment stuck 
on to it in the Senate, and, had it been adopted and gone into 
the House, I should have had it there made perfect and just 
to our notion. The discussion alone was worth all the trou- 
ble. In fact, it was primarily for no other object than this, 
and to have its title go out among the Proceedings of the 
House and Senate. This would make the citizens of Zion 
quake with very fear! And, I tell you, I have had my own 
sport over the long and wry faces manifested by those 'presi- 
dential and college men.' 

"The 'Northern Industrial College' is the title of that 
charter. It was amended on its passage, and will incite to a 
greater attention on the subject. 'My bill' was referred to the 
Judiciary Committee of the Senate, and was reported back 
and laid on table, for want of time to give it that consideration 
the subject merited. Mr. Judd attended to it for me, and did 
with it as I requested. Year in and year out shall we make 
appeals to the people, and to the Assembly in their behalf. 
Next time we shall have a good bill, fully submitted to all 
the friends, with their approval and the recommendation of 
the Governor. I have written to Messrs. Yates, Seward, Gib- 
bings. Shields, and Douglas [in Congress], besides to the 
Patent Office and the Secretary of the Interior, and sent them 
circulars ; also to Governor Seymour of New York and to many 
agricultural, mechanical, and general papers and associations. 
Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune comes out very flat- 
teringly about the resolutions. It will devolve on you to send 


one of them to each of the governors of the States. You will 
find their names all in the Whig Almanac for 1853, second 
page on cover. If you write me, address at St. Joseph, Mis- 
souri. I leave to-day. 

"Yours truly, 

"George Lumsden. 

"Professor Turner confirm.s my fears that we have nothing 
to hope positively from Governor M. [Matteson]. There is 
something rotten in Denmark." 

Professor Turner's letters to Mr. Murray continue the story 
of the work of 1853 : 

"Illinois College, February 23, 1853. 
"B. Murray, Esq. 

"Dear Sir: 

"Your welcome letter of February 12 is at hand. I have 
concluded a contract with Dr. Rutherford to lecture, and to 
commence about the first of May at his own risk, he to have 
the privilege of withdrawing therefrom whenever he chooses, 
or, if he can make it go, of continuing two years. 

"The cost of our pictorial certificate is going to be too much 
unless we continue to use vignettes already engraved at the 
banking-house. But I leave the matter wholly to your judg- 
ment. Dr. Rutherford is quite desirous to have something of 
the kind in readiness when he first starts out in May, if pos- 
sible. Can it be done? 

"You mentioned that I could draw on the funds of the 
Chicago Convention for a certain amount — I forget how much, 
and whom besides yourself. I would like now to make the 
draft, so as to get Stephens hold of the work for the Leagfue — 
the address records, copying, printing, etc. This cannot be 
done without money, and my own business and collections have 
been so much neglected this past year that I shall not be able 


to collect or advance anything of my own, in all probability, 
till after payments for next sales come in, in the fall, nor then 
if I neglect it as much as I have been obliged to for months 
past. A line from Dr. Kennicott shows him to be in good 
heart still; same of other friends. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Illinois College, March 15, 1853. 
"B. Murray, Esq. 

"Dear Sir: 

"Yours of the 9th is at hand, with extracts, for which 
many thanks. Mr. Lumsden has been here and explained the 
matter of the charter all fully and satisfactorily. He has man- 
aged the thing well in the end — they did not catch him in any 
of the traps I was fearful they would try to. He was quite 
too wide awake to be caught napping, and, when he had done 
all he could with his bill by way of agitation, killed it off him- 
self, and escaped all danger. Was not that very well done? 

"I have some hopes of getting Mr. John Davis to lecture 
in the south of the State. He will do it and feed his own horse 
for $500 per annum, and possibly $400. He is one of five to 
guarantee his own pay for the first trial. I would be one of 
the five also, but do not know how to do it — ^burning colleges, 
and events of business, have picked me so bare this year. Be- 
sides, we must not use up this pledge fund in this way, for if 
we do we shall not have the means of our lectures operating 
successfully. I wish Lumsden could be kept in Springfield, 
or in the State; he is useful there; but I fear we shall lose him. 

"If we could manage to start Rutherford north and Davis 
south to lecture, I think we could make it go. Pl&se express 
your mind. 

"Yours in haste, truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 


"B. Murray, Esq. "May 8, 1853. 

"Dear Sir: 

"Yours of April 30 is at hand. I have only time to say 
that we have made no progress with the League matters since 
I last wrote you — not a bit. Not one of the gentlemen to whom 
I wrote remitted, and, of course, there are no funds to do any- 
thing with, and I have had no time to push the matter this 

"I do not like this design as well as the other, but, as it is 
so much cheaper, I suppose we must do with it for the present. 

"The lecturers are not ready yet to enter upon the field — ^nor 
do I know that they will do it unless something as an outfit 
can be collected with which to start them. 

"These and other things are very discouraging, and no prog- 
ress can be made; nor ought any debts of the League to be 
incurred so long as things are so. My address to the people 
of the State is ready (or nearly so), and approved by those 
who have seen it; but there are no funds to publish it, and it 
lies still-born. 

"I like the suggestion as regards fees. My present busi- 
ness, as usual in spring, has used me up for months past until 
now. Our friends elected me to go to Ottawa on the i8th 
of May to the Free-Soil Convention, and if I can get away I 
shall go, so as to see some of the friends there of the Uni- 
versity. I hope to see you, but it seems almost impossible for 
me to get away. Kind regards to family and friends. In 
haste, "Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Jacksonville, Illinois, August i, 1853. 
"Bronson Murray, Esq. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Your sketch for the League came to hand. I think it will 
answer for the present, though not at all equal to the other. 
Those familiar with the public feeling say the people are too 


much engrossed with railroads just now to render much atten- 
tion to our project, and think it is not expedient to try to push 
it with great vigor just yet. What say you to this? 

"The opposition dynasty we are using up as fast as we can 
on another score. I think we shall effectually lay them cold 
without even mentioning university, which is much to be de- 
sired, if possible. I have spent half my time at it this summer, 
and will send you the final issues of the controversy as soon 
as out of the press — which I hope you will see scattered far 
and wide ; for this clique are our most formidable enemies, and 
it is better for us to destroy their corrupt power in the State 
on other grounds, if we can justly, rather than wait and have 
to fight them again directly over the University, as we shall 
surely have to do if we no not put them down now on the 
grounds of the existing institutions. With this in view, I have 
directed my whole energies this summer toward that result, 
and have had a hard time of it, too. But we have got them 
at bay finally now, and shall soon use them up. They, of 
course, have done all they could to ruin me, in return; but it 
has all returned upon their own heads here, so far. We have 
at least nine tenths of the people with us, and the whole of 
the law and the courts, and the whole of the old Governor 
French administration and their friends. 

"We are all in fine health and tolerable spirits. Mrs. Turner 
and little Mary are still in the East.* Please tender our kind 
regards to Mrs. M. and your family friends. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

In the next letter Professor Turner refers to the controversy 
described later in Chapter XXVI. The people could not un- 
derstand his long contest with the "clique" over the manage- 
ment of the State Insane Hospital funds. It is very doubtful 

*Mrs. Turner had been sent last to her mother, to remain during the 
controversy in the Board of the Hospital for the Insane. 


if many of them ever knew his motives, but the following 
extract from a letter to his friend Bronson Murray shows the 
far-reaching effect he thought the victory would have in the 
management of State institutions, not only of this institution 
in this State, but of all institutions that might come after it. 

"Jacksonville, Illinois, August 9, 1853. 
"B. Murray, Esq. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Yours of August 3 is at hand. I wrote you a week ago, 
stating the causes of existing delay, and intimating the 'war 
to the knife' in which I have been involved, together with the 
other friends of the Insane Hospital, every week since ,you 
were here. This war has had a direct bearing upon our League 
and industrial interests, and must necessarily delay them all till 
it is through, or ruin them, for the present at least, if our op- 
ponents are not thoroughly defeated. This we all see here, 
but it is too long and complicated a story to explain in a letter. 
We feel that they are pretty well used up now, and they feel 
it more than we do. Now I hope for a clear sea, fair wind, 
and sailors' rights ever after this most desperate fight, for all 
admit it has been the most desperate fight ever had in the 
State. We have given them the grape to their hearts' content, 
and now I hope they will let us alone. If this job is thoroughly 
done up, as we intend it shall be, and think it now is, the Uni- 
versity and other State institutions will hereafter have fair 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

The hard fight was showing results. In the meantime, every 
method of reaching the people was being used. The follow- 
ing notice from the Ottawa Free-Trader during this year illus- 
trates the painstaking effort to reach the whole population : 


"The Industrial League have made a report to the people 
of this State upon the movement in favor of the Industrial 
University. It is for sale at the post-office in Ottawa, at the 
cost of printing and paper, and purchasers who have read it 
may, if they choose, return it and take up their money if they 
do not seriously deface the copy. 

"The terms are fair, ten cents, and every person who has 
a son or daughter to educate should read it. 

"Now that the United States Government has some ten or 
twenty millions of surplus moneys, which politicians are at a 
loss how to dispose of constitutionally, it strikes us that this 
little pamphlet provides a desirable solution of the difficulty. 
Farmers and mechanics are especially invited to attend to this." 

The Illinois State Agricultural Society was incorporated at 
the same session of the Legislature as the Industrial League, 
and was organized on February 5, 1853, three days before the 
League's incorporation. On February 1 1 a fund of two thou- 
sand dollars was appropriated by the Legislature for its use. 
A committee of the society met in Springfield on May 25, to 
make plans for the first State Fair, which was held near that 
city from the nth to the 14th of the following October. Pro- 
fessor Turner was invited to deliver the address. In this ad- 
dress Professor Turner referred to the university land-grant 
movement in the following words : 

"Doubtless you are aware that several conventions of far- 
mers and mechanics have been held in our State, and in other 
States, to secure this great end. You are also aware that the 
Legislature of our State had the high honor to be the first 
in this great confederation of republics to invoke our sister 
States to unite in a petition to the general government for an 
appropriation of five hundred thousand dollars' worth of our 
vacant lands for the endowment in each State in the Union of 
an industrial university suited to their wants. 


"Our friends in New York have already reprinted our re- 
ports — without honoring them with quotation-marks — and 
thus, with our stolen thunder, aroused their industrial popula- 
tion and called for munificent endowments for an industrial 
university. She has already her funds and her university in 
full blast, and is now calling upon her people, on this basis, for 
a second munificent endowment for the same end. 

"Michigan many years ago established a State Agricultural 
College, but she has never made any effort for agricultural 
colleges outside of the boundaries of her own State. 

"Illinois is the first to advocate a national appropriation for 
every State and Territory." 

Many extracts from editorials in newspapers opposing this 
plan of Professor Turner's for industrial universities could be 
given which, in the light of history as written to-day, would 
make very interesting reading. Professor Turner became 
weary of these criticisms, and wrote a sarcastic reply which 
silenced them for a time; but a few courageous friends were 
tried and true. 

The following extract is from a letter from W. H. Powell, 
the candidate for State Superintendent of Schools, to B. 

"Peoria, February 12, 1856. 
"One correspondent requested me to plant myself fair and 
square on the 'anti-Professor Turner platform,' and concluded 
a long letter by saying that I 'can have no possible hope of 
success unless I do.' I have replied to it saying what I mean : 
that 'between the two alternatives of being Superintendent of 
Illinois and retaining the respect and esteem of Professor 
Turner, I should unhesitatingly and unequivocally choose the 
latter.* Professor T. may, like all men, sometimes be in the 
wrong, but in his education ideas I believe, if I rightly com- 
prehend them, he is right — though somewhat in the advance 


of some by whom he is surrounded. The day has gone by 
when class interests are the only ones to be subserved. Our 
American civilization demands a more comprehensive and lib- 
eral system. We must educate the whole people as the only 
enduring foundation upon which our republican institutions 
can rest." 

Professor Turner's friend, President Tappan of the Uni- 
versity of Michigan, sent this invitation on February 13, 1856: 

"My dear Sir: 

"The Executive Committee of the Association for the Ad- 
vance of Education have instructed me to invite you to read a 
paper on some subject related to their great object, at the next 
annual meeting, which will be held in Detroit on the second 
Tuesday of August next. Will you reply to this at your earli- 
est convenience, and if you accept this invitation, which we 
earnestly hope you will, inform me of the subject you have 

"I am, very respectfully and 
"Truly yours, 

"Henry P. Tappan, 

"President of the Association." 

Professor Turner accepted this invitation and wrote the fol- 
lowing letter home after he had delivered the address : 

"Detroit, Michigan, August, 1856. 
My dear Wife and Children: 

"The convention here has been an important and interesting 
one, and I have made the acquaintance of several interesting 
and distinguished men and heard several spirited discussions 
on the subject of education. My own discussion took them 
all aback as I expected, but it was listened to with profound 
attention and respect, and characterized by one distinguished 


member of the convention from Brooklyn, New York, as a 
discussion 'in strong thought and strong language, strongly 
expressed, a thing not easy to get by.' 

"Some further discussion of it may take place this morning; 
and, if so, I presume the old fogies and dough-faces in the 
convention will (if there are any such) try to pick it to pieces. 
But they will find the bones very hard to pick, for the ma- 
jority of the convention evidently received it not only with 
profound respect but with heartfelt satisfaction, and know that 
it is just what ought to be both said and done. 

"Affectionately yours, 

"J. B. Turner." 

A letter from United States Senator Stephen A. Douglas 
reads : 

"Chicago, Illinois, October 12, 1857. 
"My dear. Sir: 

"Accept my thanks for your kind note enclosing the pamphlet 
on Industrial Universities which I will take pleasure in read- 
ing with the view of forming a favorable judgment on the 
proposed movement. 

"I shall be happy to receive your work on 'The Races' when 

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"S. A. Douglas, U. S. S." 

At the meeting of the State Teachers' Association, held in 
Chicago in December, 1856, Professor Turner addressed a 
letter to the Association which was read by the late Dr. New- 
ton Bateman. This letter exerted a great influence in secur- 
ing the passage of the bill in the Legislature to establish the 
State Normal School toward which the "Seminary Fund" had 
been applied. 

By the establishment of the State Normal School at Bloom- 
ington a nucleus was formed, around which gathered all the 


practical educational interests of the State. A correspondent 
of the Chicago Times, June 27, i860, gave an interesting ac- 
count of the commencement week ; for, besides the anniversary 
exercises of the Normal School and the Illinois Natural His- 
tory Society, a State convention was organized to consider the 
best method of advancing the agricultural educational inter- 
ests of the State: 

"Captain James N. Brown was unanimously elected presi- 
dent of the convention. Mr. C. T. Chase of Chicago, being 
called for, said that, at the request of his associates of the 
Horticultural Society, he had visited, in person, the greater 
number of the agricultural schools in the country. He had 
found many manual training schools, schools of agriculture, 
and farm schools, the latter near the great cities, for the pur- 
pose of reclaiming younger children who had fallen under evil 
influences. In New York on Lake Geneva, and in Michigan, 
a large tract of land had been purchased and each State had 
appropriated money, but as yet nothing practical had resulted. 
In Iowa the matter was still in embryo. The State had gone 
so far as to buy, for the purpose, seven hundred acres, located 
a day's ride from Des Moines, the capital. The result was, 
nothing had as yet been eflfectively done; and it remained for 
the State of Illinois, ignoring all sectional and political jeal- 
ousies, simply striving for the best manner and men to carry 
forward this noble work to a successful and prosperous issue. 

"Professor McChesney of Springfield, being called for, said 
that the University of Chicago, in receiving its charter had 
incorporated within it a provision for an agricultural depart- 
ment. He had accepted a professorship in the college proper, 
but he was interested in the work of the State also, and hoped 
there would be no feeling of jealousy; in enterprises like these 
there should be a common sympathy of brotherhood for a 
common object. He then gave an interesting account of the 
plans contemplated. 


"Professor Turner was then called for, and said, in part : 
" 'I see an omen for the future in the present gathering. I 
remember well when we could not get out a single farmer at 
a convention for this purpose, though repeated calls and drum- 
ming had been made, and though the convention was held at 
the capital during the session of the Legislature. The world 
moves, Mr. President. If I might be allowed to use a homely 
farmer's simile, while sitting in my own door-yard, I have 
seen the immense droves of Missouri cattle coming by, and as 
the heavy, clustered tramp of the pawing, bellowing herd came 
near, all left their irresistible, onward path ; and so now I feel, 
when I see the farmers coming up in masses, bent on the ac- 
complishment of an object — I feel the presence of a mighty, 
irresistible power.' 

"He suggested the necessity of union, and the entire aban- 
donment of sectional interests. He deemed the failure of agri- 
cultural societies heretofore to be due to making manual labor 
schools of them, to entanglement with State and political inter- 
ests, and to the placing at their head .some one whose taste and 
spirit was not agricultural. To put an elderly clergyman at 
the head of an agricultural school was like placing General 
Scott in charge of a theological seminary. The speaker advo- 
cated, as a source of endowment, the procuring of the passage 
of what is known as the Morrill Bill. The speaker deprecated 
any jealousy of the school located at Chicago. The State was 
a broad one, and he was only sorry that the noble work com- 
menced in Chicago was not fourfold in its extent. He sug- 
gested the placing of the agricultural school in charge of men 
appointed by the two great and permanent organizations who 
are chosen by the farmers and mechanics at large — the State 
Agricultural Society and the State Horticultural Society." 



"C^OR fear that some reader may think the head of the house- 
hold, engaged in this long and arduous fight, was the only 
one who was anxious and weary, a glance into the home may 
not be without profit. In all great movements, it is the wife 
and mother, at home with the little ones, beyond the line of 
excitement, enthusiasm, or danger, as the case may be, wha- 
bears the heavier burden and deserves the greater honor. Mrs. 
Turner was a timid woman, afraid of the storm, afraid of the 
dark, afraid of the enemies of her husband, who threatened, 
ridiculed, and annoyed — a conservative woman, holding ia 
honor and reverence the thoughts and customs of her day, and 
viewing with apprehension and dismay the revolutionary move- 
ments in which her husband was constantly engaged, first in 
one field of thought and then in another, but always fifty years 
in advance of his time, and, therefore, never on the topmost 
wave of honor and respect. It seems incredible now, in view 
of the many State universities all over our broad land, that 
such bitter strife could have arisen over the founding of any- 
thing so useful and so splendid. At first the plan was assailed 
from pulpit and rostrum. Ministers and judges vied with 
each other in using it as an illustration of all that was most 
visionary and absurd. They christened it "Turner's folly." 
Cartoons appeared in the daily and weekly papers, showing 
professors, in high silk hats and kid gloves, out in the fields, 
holding plow-handles in the most awkward and ungainly way, 
teaching the students, standing round, how to plow. 

At the beginning of the second year of the fight. Professor 
Turner wrote to his family of his successful lecturing tour : 




"Edwardsville, Illinois, January 8, 1853. 

*'My Own Wife and Family: 

"We have met but one continued triumph so far. We have 
carried all before us in Upper and Lower Alton, without the 
least opposition from any source. Mr. Norton and all other 
good men who may have differed with me in time past on 
other matters, like true Christian men seem rejoiced that I have 
at last found a sphere of labor and action in which they can 
heartily cooperate with me and bid me God-speed. 

"I will write you again from Chicago. 

"Yours as ever, 

"J. B. Turner." 

His wife's experiences were not so pleasant. After reaching 
Chicago Professor Turner received the following letters : 

"Jacksonville, Illinois, January 13, 1853. 

^'My dear Husband: 

"We did not receive your letter until yesterday. I began to 
think surely some evil had befallen you. The boys have gen- 
erally done well. We have not been burnt out yet, but I do 
not know but that we shall freeze out, for it is terribly cold. 
We shall be glad when you are back again." 

Seven days later she wrote : 

"... We are so constituted we can get accustomed to 
almost anything, and it is well that it is so; but there are a 
good many things here that need your presence. However, 
I am willing you should stay until you think it best to come 

Evidently the wife's letter of the 13th had not been received 
when Professor Turner wrote from Chicago : 


"January i6, 1853. 
"My dear Wife: 

"I was exceedingly disappointed in not hearing from you 
by to-day's mail. 

"I have lectured here two evenings, Friday and Saturday. 
Our cause, here as at all other places, is carrying all before it. 
We have got almost the entire press and the most influential 
men in the city and church and the State, including the Mayor 
and Council of the city. 

"The Mayor is greatly interested, and invited me to make 
his house my home so long as I remained in the city, which I 
am doing. 

"My arrival here was announced in the city papers, and the 
editors of the daily papers are all giving us a strong and flat- 
tering aid, as you will see. The rich men and the railroad 
men are strong for us, and we are attacked from no quarter, 
nor do any treat us with indifference who know our plans. My 
own health is good ; I have lectured almost every night some- 
where since I left home, on some subject connected with our 

"I am engaged for Tuesday and Wednesday nights posi- 
tively, and conditionally for some evenings after that, if I do 
not hear from home. The principal railroad men here are so 
deeply interested in our views that they have given me a pass 
over their railroad wherever I wish to go till next July. 

"I am so anxious to hear from you, and know how you all 
get on and what you all desire. I hope to hear by mail to- 
night. I shall bend my steps homeward as soon as all our 
interests are secured in Chicago, and leave Dr. Rutherford to 
finish the northern part of the State. Our friends, however, 
wish me to take Peoria and the largest towns in my route, if 
I hear nothing from you to prevent. We have not yet met 
with one single resistance or a discouraging fact. 

"In haste, Yours as ever, 

"J. B. Turner." 


Chicago, ever alert to see and to receive any new thought 
or plan that might react to her advantage, received the lecturer 
most cordially and indorsed his ideas with enthusiasm. The 
city papers contained reports of the meetings and lectures. 

The City Council requested the Mayor to call a special meet- 
ing to consider "the founding of an industrial university and 
State normal school, and to petition the Legislature to appro- 
priate the Seminary Funds for that purpose." 

The Board of Directors of the Mechanics' Institute,- a lit- 
erary association, took similar action. 

The next letter from his wife, however, formed the one cloud 
over the success of Professor Turner's stay in Chicago: 

"Jacksonville, Illinois, 
"Sabbath Evening, January 22, 1853. 
"My dear Husband: 

"I hope you will come directly home. Patrick [the hostler] 
has been drinking badly all the last week. I do not think he 
is fit to have charge of the team. He came down this noon 
(Sunday) and said he was going to the country to get a cow 
for us. I knew he had been drinking, and persuaded him not 
to go until to-morrow ; but he took one horse in the afternoon, 
unbeknown to us, and went out sleigh-riding. When the boys 
went out to the barn. Bally was gone. The boys found him 
harnessed with one of Mr. McEver's horses to a sled up in 
front of the hostler's house. Rhodolphus brought him home. 
They were mad — there were several Irishmen there ; they were 
all more or less drunk. They swore so that I could hear them 
down to our house. I started to go up, not knowing what 
might happen (you know young blood is hot) ; but I met the 
boys with the horse, which looked as if he had seen hard times. 
Pat was very drunk. I regret very much indeed that this hap- 
pened. The children are afraid, and we have, as you well know, 
many causes of anxiety before this happened. It is severely 


cold here. Good night. From your affectionate wife, who 
feels somewhat of cares, consisting of fires within and without, 
boys, horses, and drunken Irishmen, 

"R. S. Turner." 

So the words "industrial university" and the little black 
valise in the father's hand brought only fear and sorrow to 
the loved ones left behind. One picture stands out clear on 
memory's walls. The father, ready to start for the train, the 
mother and six little children standing near. The mother's 
voice still rings in our ears, though more than fifty years have 
come and gone: "Mr. Turner, must you go — must you go?" 
"Yes, Mother." And I can see, even now, the tender look in 
my father's eyes and hear his trembling voice. "But I will 
take the first train home, after my lecture." And so the hus- 
band and father departed from home, taking with him all the 
sunshine and happiness, and, as it seemed to our childish minds, 
all the safety, too. 

The discussion in the press and public assemblies continued. 
The working classes and the agricultural papers grew more 
and more convinced of the practical features of the "plan" and 
its great advantages for them; while the literary and pro- 
fessional classes attacked it with ever-increasing venom. The 
secret of this was not so much opposition to the "plan," or 
lack of interest in the working classes, as that each college and 
seminary hoped to get hold of the College and Seminary Fund, 
or a part of it — which now, with its accumulated interest, 
amounted to some hundred and fifty thousand dollars — for 
their own endowment fund. To see springing up a new uni- 
versity which promised to be so strong a competitor in their 
own line of work was bad enough ; but to see it also swallow- 
ing up all the funds they had been endeavoring for so many 
years to get a part of was even more dismaying. 

Requests for newspaper articles and letters of inquiry came 
from all over the United States; this, in addition to his own 


line of work and of lecturing, wore heavily upon Professor 
Turner, for he was a poor man with a large family dependent 
upon him. After working all day in his nursery and Osage 
orange hedge fields, he would write at night, often with his lit- 
tle children playing around him. The only reproof that can be 
remembered is the following mild one — when they climbed 
upon the table to jump down: "Sho, sho! you joggle me." 
Little things did not disturb him. So interested was he in 
the success of this university, and so oppressed by his cor- 
respondence and lecturing, that sometimes the breakfast-bell 
found him at his desk. 

Human nature could not long endure such abuse. His eyes 
gave out, and for three months he sat day after day in a dark 
room, his eyes heavily bandaged with wet linen cloths, and 
these covered by a black silk handkerchief. The rooms adjoin- 
ing were kept perfectly dark, so that the opening of a door 
might not let in a ray of light to cause excruciating pain. Many 
of his lectures, when the pain became less intense, were de- 
livered with his eyes thus bandaged. He was led to and from 
the halls and platforms leaning upon the arm of his friend 
Bronson Murray, a typical New York gentleman, tall, erect, 
elegant, and called the handsomest man in Illinois. Professor 
Turner, bowed with hard work and weary with opposition and 
cares, stumbled along in his blindness; but he was greeted 
everywhere by the masses with enthusiasm and listened to with 
profound attention. Many letters were daily received, of which 
the following extract is a sample: 

"Lafayette, Oregon Territory, 
"Sir: "June i, 1856. 

"I have read, with interest your article, contained in the 
Patent Office Report for 1851, on the subject of industrial 
university. I have also conversed with many of the prominent 
men of our Territory on the subject, who generally seemed 
to regard the plan as one especially applicable to Oregon. 


"I have recently been appointed University Land Commis- 
sioner for this Territory, and have become painfully sensible, 
both from experience and observation, of the great want of 
agricultural knowledge among those who undertake to till 
the soil. My purpose in addressing you is to solicit such infor- 
mation as you are in possession of, that may be convenient 
to transmit, in regard to the practical working of such insti- 
tutions. I am trying, and have been for some six years past, 
to farm in Oregon, but find that I am so ignorant, and the 
means of obtaining practical information so limited, that I am 
almost ready to give it up. . . . 

"From what I have learned of your character, I feel assured 
of your assistance in this work. Your interest is not circum- 
scribed by the limits of your State boundaries, nor your ex- 
pectations limited to the accomplishment of this object in your 
own State alone, but you will heartily respond to the call for 
help from the distant shores of the Pacific. 

"In the meantime, permit me to remain, 

"Yours, etc., 

"Ahio S. Watt." 

More encouraging letters were received, one from Owen P. 
Lovejoy, member of Congress from Illinois: 

"Princeton, Illinois, June 2, 1856. 
"Professor J. B. Turner. 
"My dear Sir: 
"I see by the papers that there is to be a meeting at Spring- 
field on the 8th, to secure, as I understand, the application of 
funds in the hands of the State for the purpose of establish- 
ing an agricultural college or institution. First, I wish to 
express my entire and hearty approbation of the object of the 
convention, namely, to secure the funds alluded to for the 
education of the industrial classes. If scattered among the 
existing institutions, it will, very likely, be a bone of con- 


tention, and at best can do but little good divided up into 
fragmentary portions; but, on the other hand, if devoted to 
the object of agricultural education, it may at last become 
the germ of something noble and useful. I hope, therefore, 
that the convention may be successful. I hope, too, that they 
will feel they are acting for the future. Let every one of 
the human family have a part of the great farm of the Heavenly 
Father. It will make him loyal to his country, more able and 
willing to sustain and protect her institutions, and a better 
man in all relations of life. 

"Hoping and trusting that the convention will be governed 
by the spirit of wisdom and beneficence, I am, 

"Very respectfully, 

"Owen Lovejoy." 




THE movement for national aid to industrial education, 
which Professor Turner had inaugurated and was work- 
ing so hard to promote in Illinois, was already in 1853 making 
its influence felt throughout the country. How far it had 
gone is well shown by the comment of the Illinois Journal, 
published in Springfield, the capital of the State, on Decem- 
ber 13, 1853: 

"A Washington letter says Caleb Lyon has prepared a bill, 
which will be presented soon, for the establishment of a scien- 
tific agricultural college somewhat after the plan of Georgians 
in France. 

"The first movement in regard to the establishment of such 
an institution in the United States was made in Illinois. But, 
while Illinois has faltered in carrying out the plan, New York 
has got up and endowed an agricultural and mechanical col- 
lege which is fast becoming one of the most popular educa- 
tional institutions in the State. The subject is agitated in 
other States, and we now see that one is sought to be estab- 
lished under the patronage of the government. We would 
much rather see Mr. Lyon engaged in seeking to obtain from 
Congress donations of land to enable each State to get up and 
sustain an agricultural college on their own account. Govern- 
ment has been liberal in regard to the encouragement of manu- 
factures, by protective tariffs, but what has she hitherto done 
directly for agriculture? 

"The Ottawa Free Trader asserts that some person has been 
publishing a series of articles, upon the subject of establishing 
in western New York an agricultural college, in the Buffalo 
Commercial. These articles were entirely made up from Pro- 


MARCH 20, 1854 153 

fessor Turner's Granville plan, and in several instances the 
writer had taken from one to three pages verbatim from Pro- 
fessor Turner's plan. These articles were palmed off upon 
the people of western New York as wholly original, and so 
much delighted were they with this delightful conception that 
they forthwith put it into practical operation, while Illinois, 
where the plan originated, is lying upon her oars, and, instead 
of reaping the honors of her own invention, will probably be 
the last to adopt it. Still, let its friends keep its fire burning. 
Our Legislature will some day or other come to its senses. 
If we cannot be the first, let us be the second." 

On March 20, 1854, the resolution passed by the Legislature 
of Illinois the year before reached Congress. The record of 
this appears in the Congressional Globe* as follows: 

"Mr. Washburne of Illinois, by unanimous consent, pre- 
sented the joint resolutions of the State of Illinois relative to 
the establishment of industrial universities for the encourage- 
ment of practical and general education among the people in 
the several States of the Union, to cooperate with each other 
and the Smithsonian Institution at Washington." 

It was presented in the Senate on the same day by James 
Shields, the junior Senator from Illinois. 

The movement was making progress. Professor Turner was 
much encouraged, and records the development of the preced- 
ing two years in the following letter to his home paper, the 
Morgan Journal of Jacksonville, dated June 15, 1854: 

"Mr. Paul Selby, Editor: 

"To bring this cause of industrial education and the 'uni- 
versity plan' directly before the people, the Industrial League 
*Vol. 28, Part I, page 678, First Session, Thirty-third Congress. 


was organized. They have put laborers in the field, whose 
object has not been to solicit money, but opinion. 

"Instead of meeting with 'disfavor from the people,' we have 
abundant evidence that no educational movement, on its first 
being proposed, was ever investigated with so much interest, 
or ever received so general an approval in the popular mind, 
as this. 

"But this is not all. The movement has gained credit for 
the State abroad. 

"The New York papers yield to us the honor of having 
taken the -first step in a cause worthy of the nation. 

"Horace Greely, in the issue of his paper, the New York 
Tribune, of February 26, 1853, has this remark, subjoined 
to the joint resolutions passed by our General Assembly rela- 
tive to the establishment of industrial universities and for 
the encouragement of practical and general education among 
the people: 

" 'Here is the principle contended for by the friends of 
practical education abundantly confirmed, with a plan for its 
immediate realization. And it is worthy of note, that one of 
the most extensive of public-land (or new) States proposes 
a magnificent donation of public lands to each of the States, 
in furtherance of this idea. Whether that precise form of aid 
to the project is most judicious and likely to be effective, we 
will not here consider. 

" 'Suffice it that the Legislature of Illinois has taken a noble 
step forward, in a most liberal and patriotic spirit, for which 
its members will be heartily thanked by thousands throughout 
the Union. We feel that this step has materially hastened 
the coming of scientific and practical education for all who 
desire and are willing to work for it. It cannot come too 

"And Congress has also already been touched, through the 
efforts of the Illinois Industrial League. Mr. Washburne has 

MARCH 20, 1854 155 

been complimented, in connection with his State, for the action 
taken, and other State Legislatures are imitating our good 

The resolutions having been brought before Congress, it 
was now time for practical work toward securing congressional 
aid; and the Illinois members of Congress gave attention to 
the matter immediately. The following letter from Repre- 
sentative Richard Yates to Professor Turner discusses the 
situation as it was in the spring of 1854: 

"Washington, D. C, April 14, 1854. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I received your letter by this morning's mail, and thank 
you for it. I am very glad to learn that my course on the 
Nebraska Bill has met with the approval of the people of my 
district. I took grounds against it before I heard from one 
of them. 

"Mr. Washburne has not introduced any bill on the subject 
of industrial universities. He presented the resolutions of 
the Legislature — that was all. 

"Will you please draw up a bill such as you think would 
accomplish the end desired, and forward it to me? Question: 
Is it best that these institutions should have any connection 
with the Smithsonian Institution? The officers of that insti- 
tution have very ethereal notions about its objects, and, I be- 
lieve, at one of. the national agricultural conventions opposed 
its association with the subject of agriculture, claiming that, 
as the bequest of Smithson was for the 'diffusion of useful 
knowledge/ it was to stand alone and separate from any par- 
ticular institution. 

"Now, had the bill better not be so shaped as to avoid oppo- 
sition from the strong influences which the officers of that in- 
stitution might bring to bear? Would not an agricultural 


bureau be the proper head to which reports, etc., could be 

"However, I have not studied this subject — you have. 
Therefore, send me at your earliest convenience a bill, and I 
will present it and do what I can to have it passed. In haste, 
"Very truly, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"Richard Yates." 




PROFESSOR TURNER prepared a bill, as requested by 
Representative Yates, and forwarded it to Washington. 
It was not found wise to push the matter in that session, 
and the following fall Richard Yates was not re-elected 
to Congress, so the "Bill" was again delayed. Later a 
feeling of opposition was growing against land-grants, be- 
cause of the over-lavish grants for various purposes in the 
early '50's; and the time was far from propitious. The situa- 
tion was well explained in the following letter from Lyman 
Trumbull, then United States Senator from Illinois, written 
just before the opening of Congress in the winter of 1857-8. 

"Alton, October 19, 1857. 
"Professor J. B. Turner. 
"My dear Sir: 

"I thank you for your friendly letter of October 7. In 
my public course I have simply tried to discharge my duty, 
and it is a great satisfaction to feel that I have the approba- 
tion of those best capable of judging. Our free institutions 
are undergoing a fearful trial, nothing less, as I conceive, than 
a struggle with those now in power, who are attempting to 
subvert the very basis upon which they rest. Things are now 
being done in the name of the Constitution which the framers 
of that instrument took special pains to guard against, and 
which they did provide against as plainly as human language 
could do it. The recent use of the army in Kansas, to say 
nothing of the complicity of the administration with the frauds 
and outrages which have been committed in that Territory, 



presents as clear a case of usurpation as could well be imagined. 
Whether the people can be waked up to the change which this 
government is undergoing, in time to prevent it, is the question. 
I believe they can. I will not believe that the free people of 
this great country will quietly suffer this government, estab- 
lished for the protection of life and liberty, to be changed into 
a slave-holding oligarchy whose chief object is the spread and 
perpetuation of negro slavery and the degradation of free 
white labor. 

"Since the receipt of your letter I have re-read the pamphlet 
in regard to industrial universities. The idea is a grand one, 
if it could be carried out and made practical. I thought I saw 
in the last Congress an opposition springing up against any 
further grants of land in the States, but perhaps it was con- 
fined to those made to new States, and your project contem- 
plating a grant to all the States might meet with more favor. 
Several large grants were made last year, but it was done 
grudgingly. For my own part I have ever been favorable 
to an early disposition of the public lands by the general gov- 
ernment, and if they could only be secured to actual settlers, 
I would be glad to see it divested at once of this great source 
of patronage and corruption. If some of the old States would 
take hold of the matter, I think it not unlikely that a grant of 
lands might be obtained from Congress; but coming from 
the new States, which have already obtained such large grants 
for schools and other purposes, it would be likely to meet with 
less favor. 

"Objections to the feasibility of the plan will, of course, be 
urged ; but no one can doubt that something, if not all that is 
expected, could be accomplished by institutions of the char- 
acter proposed. 

"For the diploma you inclosed making me a member of the 
Industrial League, I desire to express my thanks. 

"Your sincere friend, 

"Lyman Trumbull." 


Professor Turner had always planned to go to Washington 
with his bill himself, and watch its course ; but it was difficult 
for him to leave home. In December, 1855, a new member 
entered the House of Representatives, to whom the Illinois 
members, following the reasoning in Senator Trumbull's let- 
ter, felt the introduction of their bill could be intrusted. This 
was Justin S. Morrill of Vermont. Mr. Morrill reached Con^ 
gress one year and a half after the resolution of Illinois had 
been introduced. But he was an able man, of pleasing per- 
sonality, and, best of all, a warm friend of agriculture. And, 
after the receipt of Senator Trumbull's letter, it was decided 
to send all documents, papers, and pamphlets to Mr. Morrill, 
with the request that he introduce a bill. This, at first, he 
was reluctant to do, but after much persuasion he consented. 
The bill was introduced December 14, 1857, but was reported 
back unfavorably by the Committee on Public Lands. He 
submitted it again, omitting the grant to the Territories (these 
were included later), in a very able speech, April 20, 1858. 
I well remember my father's intense anxiety for fear Mr. 
Morrill would give this speech in a half-hearted way, and so 
the bill would fail to pass. But I also well remember, when 
Mr. Morrill's speech first reached the West, my father's great 
relief and great delight. He was more than pleased, more than 
satisfied. It did not pass the House, but it was introduced 
again the next year. It then passed the House, but failed in 
the Senate. Finally, in 1859, it was again introduced, and 
passed both houses, but was vetoed by President Buchanan. 
Then, indeed, were the hearts of its friends sad. 

Before the campaign of i860, when Mr. Lincoln was nom- 
inated. Professor Turner, talking with Mr. Lincoln at Decatur, 
told him he would be nominated for President at the coming 
convention and afterward elected. "If I am," replied Lincoln, 
"I will sign your bill for State universities." A little later, 
Stephen A. Douglas met Professor Turner on a train, as he 
was going to Peoria, and assured him : "If I am elected I will 


sign your bill." So, whichever way the country voted, for 
Republican or Democrat, Professor Turner knew his labor 
was at an end. After ten long years of arduous labor, the 
great plan for the education of the masses was an assured 

In June, 1861, Senator Douglas wrote Professor Turner, 
requesting his plan for an industrial university and its history, 
as he wished to introduce it at the next session of Congress 
himself. Senator Douglas had declared long before this: 
"This educational scheme of Professor Turner's is the most 
democratic scheme of education ever proposed to the mind of 
man !" Professor Turner wrote, as requested, a full and com- 
plete account, and sent it to the post-office by his oldest son, 
Rhodolphus. To his surprise, his son returned with the letter, 
saying a telegram had just been received announcing the death 
of Senator Douglas in Chicago. In grief and disappointment, 
the letter was thrown into the waste-basket. Later Mr. Morrill 
again introduced the bill, and it passed both houses of Congress, 
and was the first civil bill signed by President Lincoln, July 2, 

The text of the bill follows : 

"an act donating public lands to the several states 
and territories which may provide colleges for 
the benefit of agricultural and the mechanic arts 

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, 
That there be granted to the several States, for the purpose 
hereinafter mentioned, an amount of public land, to be ap- 
portioned to each State, in quantity equal to 30,000 acres, for 
each Senator and Representative in Congress to which the 
States are respectfully entitled by the apportionment under 


the census of i860; Provided, That no mineral lands shall be 
selected or purchased under the provisions of this act. 

"2. And be it further enacted, That the land aforesaid, 
after being surveyed, shall be apportioned to the several States 
in sections or subdivisions of sections not less than one quar- 
ter of a section; and wherever there are public lands in a 
State, subject to sale at private entry, at one dollar and 
twenty-five cents per acre, the quantity to which said State 
shall be entitled shall be selected from such lands, within the 
limits of such State; and the Secretary of the Interior is 
hereby directed to issue to each of the States, in which there 
is not the quantity of public lands subject to sale at private 
entry, at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, to which 
said State may be entitled under the provisions of this act, 
land scrip to the amount in acres for the deficiency of its 
distributive share; said scrips to be sold by said States, and 
the proceeds thereof applied to the uses and purposes pre- 
scribed in this act, and for no other use or purpose whatso- 
ever: Provided, That in no case shall any State, to which 
land scrip may thus be issued, be allowed to locate the same 
within the limits of any other State, or of any Territories of 
Ihe United States; but their assignees may thus locate said 
land scrip upon any of the unappropriated lands of the United 
States, subject to sale at private entry, at one dollar and 
twenty-five cents an acre. And provided further, That not 
more than one million acres shall be located by such assignees 
in any one of the States. And provided further, That no 
such locations shall be made before one year from the passage 
of this act. 

"3. And be it further enacted. That all the expenses of 
management and superintendence and taxes from date of se- 
lection of said lands, previous to their sale, and all expenses 
incurred in the management and disbursement of the moneys, 
which may be received therefrom, shall be paid by the States 
to which they may belong, out of the treasury of said States, 


so that the entire proceeds of the sale of said lands shall be 
applied, without any diminution whatever, to the purpose 
hereinafter mentioned. 

"4. And be it further enacted, That all moneys derived 
from the sale of lands aforesaid, by the States to which the 
lands are apportioned, and from the sales of land scrip here- 
inbefore provided for, shall be invested in stocks of the United 
States, or of the States, or some other safe stocks, yielding 
not less than five per cent., upon the par value of said stock; 
and that the money so invested shall constitute a perpetual 
fund, the capital of which shall remain forever undiminished 
(except so far as may be provided in section fifth of this act), 
and the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated by 
each State, which may take and claim the benefit of this act, 
to the endowment, support, and maintenance of, at least, one 
college where the leading object shall be, without excluding 
other scientific and classical studies, and including military 
tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to 
agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the 
Legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order 
to promote the liberal and practical education of the indus- 
trial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life. 

"5. And be it further enacted, That the grant of land and 
scrip hereby authorized, shall be made on the following con- 
ditions, to which, as to the provisions hereinbefore contained, 
the previous assent of the several States shall be signed by 
legislative acts: 

"First: If any portion of the fund invested, as provided by 
the foregoing section, or any portion of the interest thereon, 
shall, by any action, or contingency, be diminished or lost, it 
shall be replaced by the State to which it belongs, so that the 
capital of the fund shall remain forever undiminished; and 
the annual interest shall be regularly applied without diminu- 
tion to the purposes mentioned in the fourth section of this 
act, except that a sum, not exceeding ten per centum upon 


the amount received by any State under the provisions of this 
act, may be expended for the purchase of lands for sites or 
experimental farms, whenever authorized by the respective 
Legislatures of said States. 

"Second: No portion of said fund, nor the interest thereon, 
shall be applied, directly or indirectly, under any pretense 
whatever, for the purchase, erection, preservation, or repair 
of any building or buildings. 

"Third: Any State which may take and claim the benefit 
of the provisions of this act, shall provide, within five years, 
at least not less than one college as prescribed in the fourth 
section of this act, or the grant to such State shall cease ; and 
said State shall be bound to pay the United States the amount 
received of any lands previously sold, and that the title to 
purchasers under the State shall be valid. 

"Fourth: An annual report shall be made regarding the 
progress of each college, recording any improvements and ex- 
periments made, with their costs and results, and such other 
matters, including State industrial and economical statistics, 
as may be supposed useful ; one copy of which shall be trans- 
mitted by mail, free, by each, to all the other colleges which 
may be endowed under the provisions of this act, and also 
one copy to the Secretary of the Interior. 

"Fifth: When lands shall be selected from those which have 
been raised to double the minimum price, in consequence of 
railroad grants, they shall be computed to the State at the 
maximum price, and the number of acres proportionately dimin- 

"Sixth: No State, while in a condition of rebellion or in- 
surrection against the government of the United States, shall 
be entitled to the benefits of this act. 

"Seventh: No State shall be entitled to the benefits of this 
act, unless it shall express its acceptance thereof by its Legis- 
lature within two years from the date of approval by the 


"6. And be it further enacted, That land scrip issued un- 
der the provisions of this act, shall not be subject to location 
until after the first day of January, 1863. 

"7. And be it further enacted. That land offices shall receive 
the same fee for locating land scrip issued under the pro- 
visions of this act as is now allowed for the location of military 
bounty land warrants under existing laws: Provided, That 
maximum compensation shall not be thereby increased. 

"8. And be it further enacted, That the governors of the 
several States to which scrip shall be issued under this act, 
shall be required to report annually to Congress all sales made 
under such scrip until the whole shall be disposed of, the 
amount received for the same, and what appropriation has 
been made of the proceeds." 

Approved, July 2, 1862. 

Such was the first form of the Morrill Bill, known, naturally, 
ever since, by the name of its sponsor in Congress. It was the 
splendid result of the long fight started a dozen years before 
in Illinois. During all that time Professor Turner kept up his 
vigorous efforts in behalf of the measure, as is shown by the 
following letter written by Mr. Morrill shortly before the bill 
was passed : 

"House of Representatives, 
"Washington, D. C, December 30, 1861. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I was delighted to find your fire, by the letter of the 15th 

inst., had not all burned out. I presume I recognize Professor 

Turner, an old pioneer in the cause of agricultural education. 

"I have only to say that, amid the fire, smoke, and embers, 

I have faith that I shall get my bill into a law at this session. 

"I thank you for your continued interest, and am, 

"Very sincerely yours, 
"J. B. Turner, Esq., "Justin S. Morrill. 

"Jacksonville, 111." 

VjUaX" J. U^^tJU* &aI^ A/sa^ vUC* s^s^ w Va<w 



i (^ -Q; 



' I ^ HE Civil War had now become the one absorbing inter- 
est throughout the United States, and, therefore, many of 
the States were slow to avail themselves of the liberal provisions 
of the land-grant bill. Illinois was especially active in all 
duties relating to the war, and stood foremost in energy and 
patriotism. Her soldiers were most efficient, and more nu- 
merous, in proportion to her population, than in any other State 
in the Union. It was difficult to awaken interest in any sub- 
ject outside of the terrible experiences and necessities of the 
fearful struggle through which the nation was passing. The 
extracts from letters written by Professor Turner to the Hon- 
orable John P. Reynolds, Secretary of the State Board of 
Agriculture of Illinois, printed in this chapter, give some idea 
of the arduous task that faced the friends of industrial educa- 
tion in their effort to secure the passage of a bill by the Illinois 
Legislature for a State Industrial University. 

"Jacksonville, November i, 1864. 
"Hon. J. P. Reynolds. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Yours of October 17 is at hand, but my son William 
has been so desperately sick of typhoid fever that I have hardly 
had my clothes off for the last three, weeks, and am, as usual, 
miserably behind in my correspondence. 

"I fully approve of your action in the matter on hand. Gov- 
ernor Yates, who is my personal friend, wrote me a letter 
appointing me on his committee. I wrote back to him that 
I considered such a committee an insult to the great indus- 
trial classes of the State, and that I could not serve on it ; 



though I do not think he so intended it. But I am tired of 
seeing the great industrial representatives of this State ig- 
nered and trodden under foot by literary, professional, and 
political demagogues, and I won't cooperate with them, sa 
help me God' — Governor or no Governor, friends or no friends. 

"I do not intend to come to Springfield with any bill or 
measure whatever, cut and dried. I intend to come there open- 
handed and simple-hearted, to meet and hear the true friends 
of our cause. If they desire to hear from me, I will frankly 
express my views; but I am going with them, at any rate. 
'Where they go, I. shall go ; their people shall be my people, 
and their God shall be my God' ; for I know they will design 
to do right. I have not the least ambition for any further 
leadership or control in this matter. I would prefer that it 
should move on to its destiny without even my help, but I 
am still willing to help, if our friends desire it, in any way 
I can. 

"I foresee we shall have trouble this winter; I shall en- 
deavor to be on hand, as you desire. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

The following letter somewhat modified Professor Turner's 
bitter disappointment in the appointments by his friend, Gov- 
ernor Yates. 

"State of Illinois Executive Department, 
"Springfield, Illinois, November 17, 1864. 

"Professor J. B. Turner. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Enclosed I send you the Proceedings of the committee 
appointed by me in relation to the lands donated by Congress. 
Your letter was the first intimation that the State Agricultural 
Society had appointed a committee (my time having been so 


employed that I have not as yet been able to look over the 
Proceedings of that society). I regret that you should think 
I would insult that committee, or any one else. Perhaps I 
erred in naming the men who were to compose the committee, 
but it certainly was not with any design on my part to divert 
the fund from the original design of the donors. The com- 
mittee was very hurriedly chosen, distributing them fairly 
over the State and selecting such men as I supposed were 
friendly to the cause of education. Some of the. men are con- 
nected with colleges, but I believe not a majority. More of 
the committee who expressed their opinions at the late meet- 
ing were opposed to dividing the fund among the colleges — 
and certainly I never entertained any such desire; if plans sim- 
ilar to those you have in view can be adopted by the Legis- 
lature. The only object I had in view in yielding to the request 
of Colonel Eastman to appoint a committee was to have a 
preliminary investigation for the sake of presenting the sub- 
ject to the Legislature, supposing that there would likely be 
minority and majority reports from the committee. 

"When I saw there was a disposition to prevent my well- 
meant efforts, and especially when I saw that the Agricultural 
Society had appointed a committee, and believing that was the 
best medium through which the Legislature could be reached, 
I determined to advise the disbanding the committee. 

"As I am soon to prepare my message, I would feel much 
obliged to you for a brief exposition of your views as to the 
best disposition of the trust. 

"I write you very hurriedly. 

"Your friend, 

"Richard Yates." 

The following letters from Professor Turner to the Hon- 
orable J. P. Reynolds were written in the latter part of 1864 
and the early part of 1865. 


"Jacksonville, Illinois, November 19, 1864. 
"Hon. J. P. Reynolds. 

"Dear Sir: 

"Yours of November 17th is at hand. I am sorry that 
the Governor's committee is defunct. It deranges all my plans. 
I intended to throw the laboring oar wholly into their hands, 
while we followed up with gunboats. By its dissolution we 
have lost that great advantage. Now they intend to make 
us row, while they fire upon us in the rear. I think that is 
plain from the wording of their resolutions. After a warfare 
of over twenty years, if I did not understand these old con- 
servative interests and policies I should be a dull scholar in- 
deed. The very wording of their resolutions show that they 
intend to insinuate and foster a difference of interests between 
the agricultural and mechanical interests, whereas you and I 
well know that there is no such difference, except what they 
ferment and foster. On this point they intend to divide and 
conquer. They think they can throw in an apple of discord 
which we can neither harmonize nor control. Look over these 
resolutions and you will see what they intend, and that we 
shall have now to provide against it with the great disadvantage 
of a fire in the rear and in the bushes. I intended to keep the 
Governor's committee square in front of us, and to have fought 
it to the bitter end ; for I fear nothing that can be kept squarely 
before us. It is only these conservative bush-whackers that I 
fear, either in church or state or social affairs. 

"I wish you would get Mr. Bateman and Mr. Willard, and 
such other friends of education in Springfield as you can trust, 
together, and talk over the matter, and report to me their views. 
We have had several such talks here. Our educational and 
professional men now, thank God, are all right, to a man, on 
the general principles. President Sturtevant is all right ; I ad- 
vised him to stay on the committee as a safeguard, and to bring 
in a minority report if needed. Governor Yates' heart is with 
us, and always has been ; but I felt bound to rap him over the 


knuckles, as an old maid does her favorite boy when he chances 
to hold his knife wrong at the table. I did not intend to rap 
hard enough to make him dissolve his committee. I did not 
intend to drive them into the bushes. It was bad generalship 
on my part, I confess ; but I cannot help it now. 

"What shall we do now ? Shall we meet on the 6th of De- 
cember? Can you confer with your educational men and let 
me know the result ? I have but little doubt in my own mind 
what ought to be done in the abstract ; but what and how much 
of absolute truth and right we can, at the present juncture, 
command the men and the mind to execute, I have many doubts. 
In all these matters of practical policy, I feel that I am a mere 
child, though I can still fight well for a principle to the bitter 
end, if need be. 

"Please write me soon, if you have time. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner. 

"P. S. My son Willie is worse this morning. He has been 
now for fifty days on the flat of his back of typhoid fever. 
I have watched with him until I am almost worn out. Noth- 
ing but his sickness or death, or my own, will prevent my 
answering promptly any demands upon my time at Springfield 
which you may think proper. "J. B. T." 

"December, 1864, Friday Morning. 
"Hon. J. P. Reynolds. 

"Dear Sir: 

"Yours of Tuesday morning is but this morning at hand. 
I am pleased with its suggestions, and am fully sensible of 
the difficulties it suggests. 

"I agree with you that General Fuller ought to be the father 
of the bill; but he is a soldier and not a statesman, and prob- 
ably cannot find time to look through this whole educational 
project, new as it is in many of its peculiar features, not only 
to us in the United States, but to the whole world of mankind. 


and see what peculiar powers the Board may need to use a 
hundred years hence, even though they might judge it inex- 
pedient to use them at once. You must recollect that we wish 
now wisely to begin a peculiar university, which our posterity 
can erect into the strongest, broadest, and best university on 
the face of the earth. Nothing less will do at all for our gal- 
lant Illinois and the posterity of the heroes of a hundred battle- 
fields. I fear, therefore, that General Fuller will be inclined 
to take a soldier's view of the case, and think that the shorter 
the charter the better, and the more easily it will go through 
the Legislature without friction. I agree with him perfectly 
in the idea that the hands of the trustees should not by any 
means be tied up, only so far as indispensable to safety. I 
would give them powers by the charter, and not restrict them, 
in most cases, by saying the trustees may instead of the trustees 

"Our institution is wholly new, totally unlike the old-fogy 
concerns which have preceded it, and we want to let the people 
know in the outset something of what we wish and desire it to 
be in the future. We, therefore, want to put our finger-boards 
in the charter by showing what may be done if the people at 
any time should choose to have it done, or if they do not they 
can for the present leave it alone, or leave others who come 
after them to do what they are not ready to do. 

"The thoughts I have suggested for the charter in my letter 
are not simply my own. In every case I have consulted freely 
with the ablest educators and lawyers in this town, on every 
single point, who are old friends of the cause and have watched 
and studied it with much solicitude for years, and I ruled out 
every suggestion they did not approve. I did this because I 
wanted to know how it would be likely to strike other minds 
who have thought on the subject. 

"They all say, in general, 'That is what our State will need 
at no distant day, and should go into the charter,' independently 
of local issues or present policies. Even our professors now say 


that if such an institution can be endowed it will be the grandest 
university on the face of the earth; but they doubt if it will 
be possible to save the fund from division. I fully believe we 
can keep the fund together, and therefore can do it. Don't 
bring too many into your consultations ; it will only breed dis- 
cord. You, McConnell, General Fuller, and Bateman are 
enough. As I wrote you last evening, if you will send down 
the bill I can get Judge Dummer and Judge Berdan, and also 
some of the old friends of the cause, to look it over with me. 
A draft of it had better be made by General Fuller first, or at 
least submitted to him for his criticism. What he says about 
the practical difficulties is obviously true. Possibly you might 
name five commissioners on the bill, saying 'these or such others 
as the Governor and Senate may appoint,' and the same of 
trustees; but you ought to pick your men with great care. I 
have no further choice in regard to the men than what I ex- 
pressed to you in my last, namely, that you shall be the com- 
missioner for central Illinois, and that my name shall be left 
wholly out. This much I shall insist upon, for I am sure the 
good of the cause demands it. In writing the bill, a blank 
might be left for all names of persons, and the names written 
on another slip of paper, until after full consideration. The 
Regent of the University, as I understand it, will make up the 
odd member of the Board of Trustees. Sealed bids, I think, 
should first be received, and after that a careful personal ex- 
amination made by the commission of all claims that can be 
supposed to stand at all as rivals. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Jacksonville, Illinois, July 23,, 1865. 
"Hon. J. P. Reynolds. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I thank you for the enclosed ticket. If I can do any 
good I will go ; if not, I think it is doubtful, as I have no time 


to spend, at my age in life, for mere pleasure ; though it would 
give me great pleasure to meet you there, and our other friends, 
it would hardly pay, unless some thing was to be done for the 
benefit of coming generations. I know that the Chicago folks 
will be there. Very well; if they have justice on their side, 
let them be there, and we will all hope that it will prevail. If 
they have not, the devil take the hindermost, Chicago and all — 
I will not concern myself about it. 

"My dear friend, after forty years of almost incessant effort 
in behalf of the true principles of freedom and education, I 
have settled down into the comfortable conclusion that if Al- 
mighty God, possessed of omnipotent power, don't care any- 
thing about them, I do not, and I am not going to run over 
the State any more, trying to raise them up, while He leaves 
the devil and the conservatives and the copperheads in solid 
phalanx to fight against me. Most true, I would like to see 
all our people educated for the highest ends and uses of hu- 
manity, and I would like to see our own State, Illinois, take 
a deserved lead in this great matter. But if neither the Lord 
nor the people care anything about it, who am I, that I should 
fight against God and the people too? Let Champaign and 
Chicago and the devil and "befooled Egypt" take the inside of 
the ring, if that be the Lord's will, although it is none of my 
will. For myself, I am conscious of only one great immaculate 
virtue in me : I bow submissively when I can't help it, and no- 
where else. 

"But, more seriously, my dear friend, let us thank God and 
take courage, and still 'keep our powder dry,' in that the great 
State of New York has accepted the offer of Mr. Cornell of 
Ithaca of five hundred thousand dollars, and thus located its 
University there, with a fair start of a million and a half dol- 
lars. Let us labor and pray for its success. It is the first 
and the only tolerably fair start toward the right thing that 
I have seen in any of the States. We must help this matter 
along. I wish you would send to Mr. Cornell, of Ithaca, your 


last report, and whatever else you may have in your office of 
past or present reports that will tend to throw light on this 
matter. For a man who is willing to give a half million dol- 
lars to an enterprise is likely to have the brain to get it through, 
if he is properly protected. As to what should be published 
in our reports, I think that an article showing the real origin 
and general history of the matter in our State in brief would 
be very apposite. The whole matter was really begun and 
urged on to its present position by citizens in our own State, 
and not only so, but by the members and staunch friends of 
our State Agricultural Society. It is apposite, therefore, that 
the Society should note and chronicle, if it pleases, that fact ; 
but I could not, of course, write the article. I have been per- 
sonally too much mixed up with it ; you had better do it your- 
self. . . . 

"We have had a thunder shower that lasted for about three 
weeks, and now it seems to have set in for a steady rain. We 
occasionally send out 'a dove' in the shape of a corn-plow ; but 
it soon returns to the ark again, loaded with mud and weeds, 
if not with olive branches. If it don't stop raining soon, there 
will be no use in executing 'J^^/ for the hell-fires will all be 
squelched and he will have nowhere to go. 

"With love to all, 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Jacksonville, Illinois, August 13, 1865. 
"Hon. J. P. Reynolds. 
"My dear Friend: 

"Yours of July 31st is at hand. I thank you for it. 'The 
world does move,' as you say, 'in spite of all our temporary 
discomforts.' Our noble cause is advancing perhaps as rap- 
idly as it is healthful that it should. I think this move of Mr. 
Cornell shows that we should not despair, but strive to get 
our State to follow with New York. She is equally able, and 


can just as well do the 'clean thing,' if we only get her started 
right. Indeed, Illinois can do a better thing at real education 
than any other State or nation in the civilized world, if she 
will only try. I want that she should try ; so do you ; so do we 
all. We will try and bring her up to her duty before God and 
man. Another thing shows me the truth of our ideas, and 
our certain success at last; I read lately, in some paper, an 
article in which even a conservative Englishman, in his report 
to Parliament, assails the great universities of Oxford and 
Cambridge as a humbug. If the slow-molded Englishmen 
begin to find out that they have been humbugged in that sys- 
tem of pretended education from which ours was copied, will 
not the lithe, agile, and wary Yankee find it out, too? I am 
still in good heart and hope, and all the better for the en- 
couraging words in your last letter. I intend to write for 
papers after the hurry season is over. An American citizen 
needs to learn only three simple things : namely, when, where, 
and how to work, to fight, and to pray, to the best possible 
advantage. When he knows this he is well educated; he is 
fit to be a citizen of the great Republic. 

"The Chicago Tribune is now adopting our arguments for 
their own use and wielding them with power, just as we did, 
because they are true, but at the same time placing our plans 
at a disadvantage in discussion, and before the Legislature 
and the people, by making it seem that they understand the 
subject better than we do, and we, after all, will be obliged 
to adopt their ideas in order to succeed, and not they ours. 

"The Tribune is now stealing our thunder every week for 
this end. I have, therefore, sketched three articles which I 
think should at some place come explicitly into our charter. 
If you and Mr. McConnell think so, please devise the language 
to your liking, and put them into that part where they will 
best fit. 

"I think they should be very explicit and full, in order to 
furnish now and in all future times a just ground of appeal 


to silence all partizan or sectarian old-fogy professors. We 
only need say, 'Gentlemen, if you do not like our teaching, 
endow your own professorships to suit yourselves; the insti- 
tution is just as free and open to you as it is to us and all 
others, not only to learn, but also to teach.' You will see the 
drift of the provisions in other regards. 

"Sketch of Articles 

"I. Any County Community Corporation or Association, 
Literary, Scientific, Secular, or Religious, may found and en- 
dow in this University any professorship of any science, art, 
or species of learning or knowledge which such endowment 
may desire to have taught in said University, by paying over 
to the Trustees such sums of money or property of other sort 
as the Trustees shall from time to time declare needful to a 
common endowment, and which shall not be less than is suf- 
ficient for the permanent support of such property or teacher. 
They shall have the right to choose their own name for such 
professorship, and also to choose the professor or teacher from 
time to time to fill the chair and prescribe his course of instruc- 
tion according to his own views. Provided that no student 
of the University shall be obliged to attend the instruction 
or recitation of any instructor of course of study not previously 
elected by himself or by his parent or guardian. 

"11. The Trustees shall, as far as practicable, arrange all 
their regular and more important courses of study and lectures 
in the Institution so that the sons of farmers, merchants, and 
laboring men may pass through them during the six winter 
months, and leave them free to return to their several practical 
arts and industries at home during the six summer months 
of each year, or remain in the Institution and pursue such 
optional studies or such industrial avocations as they may elect, 
provided that no student shall be at any time allowed to remain 
in or around the Institution in idleness, or without full mental 
or industrial occupation suited to his ability. 


"III. The Trustees shall from time to time appoint such pro- 
fessors and instructors as the wants of the Institution may 
require and its means may allow; and they shall also appoint 
a corresponding secretary, whose duty it shall be to issue cir- 
culars, directions, and all other needful materials for conduct- 
ing the proper experiments and eliciting instructive reports to 
the Institution from men in each county selected for the pur- 
pose and skilled in any branch of agricultural or mechanical 
and industrial art, and who may consent or desire to thus 
gratuitously promote the well being of the University and the 
people of the State. He shall receive and place on file in the 
Institution all such reports, and the Trustees may at any time 
direct and adopt such methods as they see fit for the appoint- 
ment of such county reporters or superintendents of particular 
art or interest, and also direct the corresponding secretary as 
regards what particular experiments in the several counties 
they wish to have made, or what particular principle test or 
what particular information they desire to have elicited through 
these county reports touching any particular art or process or 
interest, so that the University may become in the highest prac- 
tical degree a gleaner and elaborator, as well as a dispenser 
of knowledge to the people. And the Trustees may make such 
provision for the publication of parts, abstracts, or inferences 
from these reports, or other matters connected with the Uni- 
versity, as they may judge the best interests of the people may 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 



DECEMBER 4, 1865 

A N industrial university convention was held at Blooming- 
-^ ton, Illinois, December 4, 1865, at which a large repre- 
sentation of the agricultural, horticultural, and mechanical in- 
terests of the State came, in response to the call of the Execu- 
tive Board of the State Agricultural Society, to discuss the 
great questions of what should be the character, and where 
the location, of the contemplated State Agricultural College. 
There were present the leading members and delegates from 
twenty-seven counties. 

The following report of a committee having the matter in 
charge was laid before the Convention : 

"To the Friends of Industrial Education in Illinois: , 

"The undersigned, a committee appointed by the last of a 
series of mass conventions of farmers and mechanics, assembled 
during the State Fair at Decatur, in September, 1864, and 
especially charged with the duty of framing and urging the 
passage by the General Assembly of a bill for an act to organ- 
ize, endow, and maintain an institution of learning in this 
State, in accordance with the terms and provisions of an act 
of Congress, approved July 2, 1862, donating lands to the sev- 
eral States for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts, 
feel that their duty to you demands of them a brief report of 

' "We accept the trust with less reluctance than would other- 
wise have been felt, because, on all the main points and prin- 
ciples involved, the wishes of the great mass of our people, 
farmers, mechanics, and professional educators alike, as time 



and again expressed, were known to be in full harmony with 
the clear and explicit requirements of the fundamental act of 
Congress, both together forming a chart of instructions which 
could not be materially departed from by us. 

"That each of you may judge and decide for himself, we 
append to this report a copy of the act of Congress and of the 
matured bill which our friends in the General Assembly en- 
deavored to pass ; and also state some of the positions assumed 
by them and us in urging its passage: 

"I. The act of Congress contemplates a series of homo- 
geneous institutions in the several States, in every one of which 
shall be taught the 'branches of learning related to agriculture 
and the mechanic arts,' and 'military tactics,' not excluding 
'other scientific and classical studies.' 

"i. It was, therefore, insisted that any scheme which pro- 
posed to disrupt and dismember the institution, scattering its 
limbs hundreds of miles apart, would, if successful, violate the 
v-ery law of its life, and, as an inevitable result, sooner or later 
produce its death. 

"2. It was also insisted that any scheme which provided 
merely for teaching practical art, either the art of agriculture 
or the mechanic arts or trades, one or all of them,, would, if 
successful, utterly fail to comply with the spirit or letter of 
the act of Congress, which provides that 'branches of learning 
related to agriculture and the mechanic arts' (not agriculture 
and the mechanic arts themselves) shall be taught; and thus 
recognizes the difiference between a workshop or a potato-patch 
and a school of the highest possible grade. While making 
ample provision for the physical labor of the pupil, as will be 
observed by reference to the sixth section of the bill, we did not 
deem it necessary, or best, or possible under the law, to organ- 
ize a university for teaching, exclusively, practical art, which 
every student may better and more profitably learn elsewhere, 
on the model farms and in the model art departments which 
the Trustees were empowered to establish and conduct, or at 


home. While thus advocating the integrity of the institution 
itself, our friends no less strenuously urged : 

"II. The non-division of the fund and its appropriation to 
the endowment of a single university. 

"i. The bill is intended to become the organic act or charter 
of an institution to which, as its development progresses under 
a wise administration of its affairs, all the people of the State 
may confidingly look as the great fountain-head of popular 
instruction, the crowning glory of our common-school system 
and a source of just pride to every lUinoisan; whose pupils 
shall come from it living Americans, sound in mind, sound in 
body, and thoroughly skilled in the practical sciences which 
underlie the industries of life ; an institution soon to command 
the respect and cordial support of all, and become the favored 
legatee of the wealthy men of the State. If, therefore, this 
conception, this necessity, is to be realized (and anything else 
is unworthy of us), no meager sum will suffice to inaugurate it. 

"2. The amount to accrue from sale of the land-scrip in 
possession of the State is uncertain; if the whole were sold 
at present market price, say seventy cents per acre, and invested 
in five-per-cent. stocks, the annual income derived from it would 
be $16,800— a sum sufficient for the maintenance of any first- 
class university, with the addition of tuition fees; while, it is 
hoped the Trustees of this may be able, at an early day, to dis- 
pense with any considerable charge for instruction. 

"3. This is an experiment, at best, but is fraught with in- 
terests of such magnitude and enduring importance that no 
unnecessary risks should be assumed. If we can keep the people 
together, we are thus, and only thus, sure of adequate moral 
and financial support. 

"HI. Its location in such manner and form as a due regard 
to honesty and fair dealing with the people of the various local- 
ities desiring it seems to require. 

"i. As an equivalent for the local benefits likely to flow from 
its being fixed at any point, the interest of the University de- 


mand, and the State is entitled to, not only a good bargain, 
but the best one obtainable; and that the greatest possible 
advantages, physical, financial, social, and educational, be se- 

"2. If located in any manner which does not afford all por- 
tions of the State opportunity to make proposals, the sympathies 
and affections of the whole people cannot be expected to fol- 
low and bless it. 

"3. The precedents of this State were in favor of interven- 
tion of a commission of discreet persons, to be selected by the 
Governor and Senate, or appointed by vote of both houses of 
the General Assembly. There could be no appearance even 
of want of equity in submitting the matter to a commission; 
there were nearly two years and a half within which to secure 
the buildings ; and our friends, therefore, adopted this mode. 

"On all minor points we were ready at all times to make 
concessions; but neither our friends in the General Assembly 
nor ourselves were willing to yield up any of these self-evi- 
dently just principles. 

"Even before the first day of the session, the advocates of a 
division of this fund among several of the existing literary 
institutions commenced pressing their peculiar views upon at- 
tention of members, but, soon becoming aware that success 
was not possible, abandoned that movement as hopeless. 

"Immediately on the presentation of the bill by our friends 
in the House, a copy of it was obtained by those representing 
an interest in Champaign County; the eleventh section, which 
provided for a commission to locate, stricken out; and a pro- 
vision was inserted and introduced into the Senate, locating 
the proposed University between the towns of Urbana and 
Champaign, on condition of the transfer, for use of the Uni- 
versity, of a certain edifice and grounds there situated. 

"The interests of the State demanded that competitive bids 
should be made by the different counties. The bill the Cham- 
paign County lobby had tried to force through the Legislature 


had contained one hundred and seventy acres less and $152,000 
less than the law, afterward passed, required. 

"For reasons at once apparent, our friends could not give 
this scheme their support. The point of location was not in 
itself objected to, but to locate direct by law, without chance 
for competition, would be a breach of faith to the remainder 
of the State, and sacrifice, if not the life, at least the usefulness 
of the institution. This claim was, however, most persistently 
pressed, and, during the whole session, stood in the way of 
the passage of any other act upon the subject. 

"Near the close of the session, failing to bring the majority 
of both Houses, or of either House, to the support of their 
plan, a combination was formed and an amendment made to 
our bill in the House, providing for the location of the Uni- 
versity proper in Champaign County, the creation of a school 
for the mechanic arts in Chicago, and a school for agriculture 
in southern Illinois, dividing the fund among them in no very 
definite manner, and thus practically dismembering the institu- 
tion itself. 

"Aside from the mere fact of division, this scheme was ob- 
jectionable because it provided for two schools of practical art 
only — a thing, as already stated, not contemplated by the act 
of Congress, and worse than useless anywhere. The bill, thus 
amended, passed the House, was sent to the Senate, and there 
sleeps — we trust, in death. 

"No law whatever on this subject was passed by the late 
General Assembly. The matter remains just as it was when 
your committee was appointed, except that the leading points 
and principles involved in it have been very generally and bene- 
ficially discussed. The enterprise was a new one; few mem- 
bers of the General Assembly had given it the study and 
thought its magnitude demanded before they could act intelli- 
gently upon it. Some of them, however, had comprehended 
it in all its great and enduring relations to the educational, 
industrial, and social interests of the State, and such battled 


manfully for the right. They are entitled to our lasting re- 

"We do not care, in this report, to give the yeas and nays 
taken during the progress of the bills. Each constituency may 
ascertain for themselves how their immediate representatives 
voted ; and, if not in accordance with their views, the corrective 
is with themselves. 

"The bill we presented was, at one time or another, except 
the eleventh section, voted for, and advocated by almost every 
member of both Houses, and, but for causes mentioned, would 
undoubtedly have become a law without serious opposition. 

"Its most radical features — those which embody the great- 
est innovations upon the forms observed in the old established 
universities — meet the enthusiastic support of many of our 
most eminent practical educators. Further thought and dis- 
cussion will suggest valuable amendments, so that the com- 
pulsory delay of two years will not be wholly lost. Two years, 
or ten years, are as nothing in the life of an institution such 
as this, compared with the importance of giving it a substan- 
tial basis and right direction. It is for you to see that your 
representatives, when next they are called to act upon the 
organization of the Illinois Industrial University, fully under- 
stand your wishes, and do them. 


"Wm. H. Van Epps, 
"J. B. Turner, 


"B. G. Roots, 
"John P. Reynolds, 


The action of the convention is given in a contemporary re- 
port as follows: 

"On motion of O. B. Galusha, a committee of five was ap- 
pointed to draft resolutions for the consideration of the Con- 


vention. The committee consists of Messrs. J. B. Turner, O. B. 
Galusha, G. W. Minier, Henry Tubbs, A. R. McMasters. 

"The committee appointed for that purpose presented the 
following resolutions: 

" 'Resolved, That whereas the true principles of education, 
like the true principles of civil government, everywhere require 
the greatest practicable union, cooperation, and concentration 
in all its highest department, combined with the utmost prac- 
ticable dififusion in the lower departments; 

" 'Therefore, Resolved, That the State of Illinois should 
at present, attempt to build only one University of the 
highest order, and _that the energies and resources of our 
people should now be directed to that one end, and the un- 
divided funds of our congressional grant be .appropriated 

" 'Resolved, That we approve of the principles of location 
adopted by former State conventions and presented to the 
State Legislature at its last session by the committee of the 
State Agricultural Society. 

" 'Resolved, That we approve of the . general principles 
adopted and approved by all parties at the last session of the 
Legislature, that in preparing the charter for the University 
all mere details of organization and government should be 
left to the future necessities of the institution, the board of 
the people, and the existing Board of Trustees, and that the 
charter of the University should limit their freedom only on 
those points indispensable to a fundamental law. 

" 'Resolved, That a committee be appointed to urge these 
views upon the next Legislature. 

" 'Resolved, That we urge upon the people the necessity of 
keeping the principles embodied in these resolutions before 
aspirants to ofifice, and that they emphatically reprobate any 
man as a candidate for the Legislature who is unfavorable to 
these views. 

" 'Resolved, That we request the Chicago and Springfield 


papers, and all others in the state, to publish the Proceedings 
of the Convention.' 

"Adjourned till 1.30 p.m. 

"Afternoon Session 

"Professor Turner, in presenting the above resolutions, ex- 
plained them at considerable length. He stated that the com- 
mittee emphatically indorsed the action taken by the Agri- 
cultural Committee last winter, and the bill which they presented 
for the action of the Legislature, but which was defeated by 
combinations which are familiar to the readers of the Tribune, 
because they were fully discussed in its columns at that time. 

"He explained the Congressional grant, and said in fixing 
the charter the committee adopted the language of the grant. 
He explained that agricultural experiments could be made by 
individuals on small tracts of land without expense to the 
University. They would make their reports to the institution 
and through the press, and thus information would be conveyed 
to the people. He was opposed to the institution running into 
a dead literature, but, at the same time, was unwilling to tie 
down the institution to a strict code of procedure. He would 
have no red tape about the institution, except to make sure that 
there could be no possibility of the misapplication of its funds. 
Give a proper discretion to the managers in range of studies, 
and then hold them to a strict accountability. 

"It was not the intent of the managers to select the richest 
soil, but the soil best adapted for experimental farming. He 
also explained that there was nothing in the bill making the 
college a free institution, but only free to a single scholar from 
each county. He wanted it understood that these resolutions 
indorsed no details, but simply the leading features of the bill. 

"Professor Turner opposed the suggestion of Mr. Sanford 
that the session of the College should be held in summer in- 
stead of winter. He insisted that the human mind was more 
active and in a better condition to receive new ideas in winter 


than in summer; besides, parents want their sons to work on 
the farm during the summer, when they can get practical ideas 
in their studies .of the fai-m. The moment the birds begin to 
sing, the boys are outdoors and will not study with a zest. 
"The Committee on Resolutions reported the following : 

" 'Resolved, That the committee who have presented the re- 
port now before this meeting shall constitute the committee 
contemplated in the resolutions, and that we instruct them to 
secure the revision of the bill presented to the Legislature of 
this State at its last session by a committee appointed by a con- 
vention of the people of this State, and cause one thousand 
copies of the bill to be printed ; also, that they be instructed to- 
secure the appointment of sub-committees in each of the repre- 
sentative and senatorial districts of this State, whose duty it 
shall be to present a copy of said bill to each and every person 
whose name shall be before the people as a candidate for nom- 
ination to the offices of Representative and Senator to the Gen- 
eral Assembly of this State, and shall receive the public pledges 
of such candidates for nomination that they will use all laud- 
able endeavors, if nominated and elected, to secure the passage 
of said bill; and that, in case any candidate shall refuse or 
neglect to give such pledge, such sub-committee shall publish 
the fact of such refusal throughout the district in which such 
candidate resides through the newspapers published therein. 

"The resolution was adopted. 

"Convention adjourned, sine die." 



npHE Illinois Legislature, in the session of 1866, following 
■^ this appeal from the farmers, favored their idea of keep- 
ing the Industrial University fund for one institution. The 
progress of the year 1866 may be shown by extracts from 
Professor Turner's correspondents, the most interesting of 
which was a long letter from Ezra Cornell, who was then en- 
gaged in getting under way the great University that bears 
his name. 

Professor Turner, at the request of the friends of the House 
Bill, gave a lecture, on December 20, 1865, in the House of 
Representatives. His explanation of all the leading features 
was full and satisfactory. 

In the Illinois State Journal, a few days later. Professor 
Turner made this reply to some criticisms of the bill providing 
for the organization, endowment, and maintenance of the Illi- 
nois Industrial University made in the Chicago Tribune on 
December 17, 1865 : 

"Editor State Journal: 

"Some of those various Solomons, who have written for the 
Chicago Tribune on the subject, have at last discovered that 
the bill before the House is full of all sorts of 'crudities.' 

"The writer cannot conceive of what use a corresponding 
secretary can be to such an institution, and at the very name 
of one he seems to smell some sort of a 'mice.' I wonder if 
any one of the various writers of the conflicting editorials in 
that paper have ever read the act of Congress which conferred 
the grant ? If so, how do they expect its terms to be complied 
with, without such an officer, call him what name you will? 
Will some of these discordant savants please to point us out 



the true way? The community does not know yet what the 
Tribune is really for, or what it is against. One week it seems 
to be for the measures of one party or interest, and another 
week for those of the opposite one. In the last strictures on the 
bill now pending before the House — which was prepared and 
concurred in by all the men who were appointed to represent 
the agricultural and mechanical interests of the State, by all 
our leading practical teachers and professors to whom it has 
been submitted, as well as by the old original advocates of the 
grant, some of whom have made that a matter of study, both 
theoretically and practically, for the past ten or twenty years — 
the Tribune has settled down to a very comfortable opposition, 
not only to the main features of this bill, but to the express 
terms of the act of Congress that gave us the grant. Very 
well ; I admire heroism, even if it comes rather late in the day 
and somewhat mixed with crudities. 

"The writer has never heard, it would seem, that some of 
our oldest and most successful classical colleges are preparing 
to adopt, and some actually have adopted, a six months' regu- 
lar course and a six months' optional course of study, in pre- 
cise accordance with the proposed features of this bill. It will 
be news to these venerable professors and teachers to learn 
that the adopting of a course of optional study, for a part of 
the year, really jmplies, as this savant seems to suppose, that 
the students are to 'hang around the institution' and do just 
what they please, provided they are doing something. Pray, 
send to each of these institutions a copy of the Tribune, and 
let them know the dangers they are incurring. 

"This writer cannot see what an agricultural institution can 
do with an experimental farm, unless the boys are actually 
kept on it all summer to look at it and work it with their own 
hands, and he thinks it is an exceedingly crude and absurd 
id§a to imagine that any one else can see. Of course, if the 
writer cannot see through the millstone, who can? It is suf- 
iicient to say that all men of all classes, who know anything 


at all about the subject, can see so clearly that they need no 
instruction on that point. 

"This writer really fears that one hundred and two honor- 
ary scholarships, appointed on the same general principle with 
the appointees of our State Normal School, — a provision which 
is particularly approved and is particularly dear to all our most 
sagacious teachers, and which was first suggested from their 
ranks, as a powerful means for elevating all our common 
schools, — will produce a deluge of students that will over- 
whelm and sink the University. He also deems it an outrage 
to give English certificates of scholarships, instead of Latin 
and Greek diplomas. He is not aware of the fact that there 
is not, and never was, a scientific Institution on the Continent 
that does or can give anything but such certificates of scholar- 
ships as is proposed, and that none but classical schools hav^ 
either any moral or legal right to issue diplomas and degrees 
in the usual form. 

"But the Tribune approves of the equal and democratic mode 
of deciding upon the location of the University, which the bill 
proposes, and which the people had been led to expect would 
be adopted. 

"All the old friends of the grant, and all the constructive 
and appointed representatives of the industrial classes, the of- 
ficers of their societies, the representatives of the teachers in 
the State, and the committee who drew the House Bill, are 
opposed, to a man, as far as I know, to this whole proceeding. 
We think, by pushing this purely local interest so impetuously, 
its originators only stand in their own light; that they injure 
their own real interests, as well as all the best interests of the 
University and the State. 

"I know of no man who is opposed to the location of the 
University in Champaign if, after a full and a fair examina- 
tion of the matter, and close examination of the officers of the 
best communities, it should be found the best place. But it is. 
this attempt to take a 'snap judgment,' as it is called, on the 


whole thing, before other communities can be apprised of what 
is going on, — this pertinacious pushing of an obviously merely 
personal and local interest in such hot haste over all the other 
great interests of the State, — of which we complain. We re- 
gard the effort thus to commit in advance, before any proper 
deliberation or discussion has been had, individual members 
of the Senate and House, some of whom, as their public re- 
marks show, have never yet intelligently read the enabling act 
of Congress, while others in the Senate seem really to suppose 
that the Champaign bill, about which they are talking, is the 
bill of the Agricultural Society, or that of the committee, to 
which it is diametrically opposed — we regard this effort as 
indecorous and injurious. I hope those gentlemen of 'the 
Senate will find out what the enabling act of Congress enjoins 
and requires, and what bill and whose bill they are really 
advocating, before they proceed to locate the institution. For 
the information of all who are in doubt, I will suggest that 
the House Bill is the bill prepared by this committee appointed 
by the agriculturalists and the people, while the Senate Bill 
is the bill in the Champaign interest. 

"J. B. Turner." 

The friendly letter from Senator Ezra Cornell, following 
the action of the Illinois Legislature, is given below : 

State of New York, Senate Chamber, 

"Albany, February 19, 1866. 
"My dear Sir: 

"Your favor of the loth, addressed to me at Ithaca, has just 
reached me here, and I thank you for letting me know of the 
progress you are making in Illinois in this great American 
movement of education. 

"I am glad also to learn, as I infer from the documents you 
inclose, that your Legislature has decided not to waste your 
land grant by dividing it among such institutions now in ex- 


istence as may attach an agricultural or mechanical department 
to their present schools. We were in great danger at one 
time of falling into that fatal error, but happily avoided it, 
and are now, I trust, standing on firm and substantial ground. 

"We are not, however, past all danger of making mistakes. 
I anticipate the making of mistakes ; I do not possess wisdom 
enough to avoid all errors, and I fear the united wisdom of 
our directors may not be adequate to secure absolutely right 
action in all things. I hope, however, to secure such solidity 
of basis that our errors will not prove fatal, or even very dis- 

"We, therefore, start out upon the plan of funding our cap- 
ital and living on our income, and financially we stand thus. 

"We have a farm of 200 acres and $500,000 cash, donated 
by Ezra Cornell. The former, valued at $50,000, we shall 
locate the University upon. The latter is securely invested at 
seven per cent., bringing an income of $35,000 per annum, and 
constitutes our only building fund, and will be used for build- 
ing purposes as long as required. The Congressional land 
grant to this State amounted to 990,000 acres. The State gives 
us the income of the fund realized from the sale of this scrip. 
Prior to the passage of the act creating the 'Cornell University,' 
the Comptroller of our State sold 90,000 acres of the scrip, 
from which he realized $62,000, which is invested at seven 
per cent., and last fall I purchased of the Comptroller 100,000 
of the land-scrip for the University, paying therefor $50,000, 
which is also invested at seven per cent., making, with some 
accrued interest, $120,000 invested by the State, the income 
of which, $8,400, goes to the institution annually. This leaves 
800,000 acres of land yet to dispose of. 

"The 100,000 of scrip that I purchased I am now locating 
in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and the remaining 800,000 in 
scrip I hope to purchase and locate for the University, and 
think I shall succeed in my plans to that effect, if Congress 
will exempt the land entered by such scrip from taxation while 


held by the University. I trust that your institution will also 
be able to purchase and locate the scrip, and thus become in- 
terested with us in asking Congress to exempt the lands from 
taxation. I will inclose you a copy ,of an act for that purpose, 
which I have drawn to forward to Congress. 

"We are maturing the plans for our buildings, and expect 
to begin their erection in the spring. Our plan of studies, the 
selection of professors, etc., etc., our trustees have not decided 
upon yet. 

"We shall have a meeting of trustees of the University at 
Albany early in March, say two or three weeks hence. If you 
will do us the favor to attend that meeting, I will forward you 
a notice of the^time when fixed. 

"We shall be glad to cooperate with our great agricultural 
sister, Illinois, in this great enterprise, which must have a 
mighty power in the development of the intellectual and physical 
resources of this great nation. 

"I think, if you could make it convenient to attend our 
meeting, it would be to the benefit of both institutions, yours 
and ours. 

"Thank you for the membership to your 'Industrial League.' 
I am a practical mechanic and workingman. 

"Yours respectfully, 

"J. B. Turner, Esq." E. Cornell. 

Later in this year of 1866 Professor Turner wrote the fol- 
lowing letter, defining his idea of American education, to Col- 
onel Smith, editor of the Jacksonville Journal, who has always 
been his faithful ally : 

"Jacksonville, Illinois, 1866. 
"Colonel Smith, Editor of the Journal: 
"Dear Sir: 

"You have grasped the idea of this scheme of American 
education, and present it with great force and clearness. I 


am ever glad when the cause finds able and competent advo- 
cates. I have for many years looked at this scheme of educa- 
tion as at once an inevitable and indispensable outgrowth of 
our American free institutions. It must necessarily develop 
out of them, and finally react and sustain them, if they con- 
tinue to exist, and the question of the final existence of such 
institutions is only a question of time, for it would inevitably 
produce them, sooner or later — no shadow of doubt on that 
point, even in the darkest hours, has ever crossed my mind. 
Hence, in all conflicts and disasters, my only reply to my friends 
was, 'Come they will, for come they must, whoever may op- 
pose.' And if all the funds now given should be sunk in the 
ocean, or wasted or squandered in any other inconceivable way, 
I should be of the same opinion still ; my faith in this view of 
the case would not be in the least shaken ; for America cannot 
exist without a distinctively American system of education; 
like the other lands, it must work out that destiny for itself, 
or perish from off the earth. 

"I thank you for your earnest and eloquent advocacy of the 
same great common cause. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 



ALTHOUGH the Illinois Legislature of 1866 decided not 
to dissipate the Industrial University fund by dividing 
it among the various existing colleges of the State, the move- 
ment was still in danger. The time allowed the States for 
acceptance of the land grants had nearly expired, and Illinois, 
the originator of the movement, had not taken the practical 
steps necessary to secure the grant of land for her own uni- 
versity. The danger was finally averted by an act of Congress, 
approved July 23, 1866, extending the time limit of acceptance 
five years. After the passage of this act the advocates of the 
existing colleges continued their campaign to secure the ad- 
vantages of the grant for their institutions, and their move- 
ment culminated in a meeting of college presidents, in the 
last of October, 1866, to form a permanent organization, one 
of whose chief objects would be to work to secure the land 
grant. This meeting was held in Chicago, and the Rev. Dr. 
A. G. Wallace, president of Monmouth College, was its chair- 

The Chicago Tribune of October 31, 1866, reported the con- 
vention, in part, as follows : 

"The Committee on Permanent Organization recommended 
that all the colleges of our State be invited to unite in a perma- 
nent association of fraternity, of which all of the several facul- 
ties shall be members, and in which each college shall have 
one vote. The annual meetings of the Association to be either 
during the Christmas holidays or during the long vacation of 
the summer. Carried. The committee further recommended 
a committee be appointed to draft a constitution, and the fol- 



lowing gentlemen were appointed: Rev. J. Blanchard, D.D., 
Rev. R. Allyn, D.D., Rev. W. S. Curtis, D.D. Letters were 
read from several presidents, all of whom indorsed the meet- 
ing, except one (J. M. Sturtevant). His dissension was' ex- 
plained, by gentlemen present, to arise from his close prox- 
imity to and interest in the appropriation made by the Legis- 
lature for a separate Agricultural College. All letters were 
ordered to be placed on file. The Committee on Legislative 
Aid reported as follows: 

" 'That the entire Educational Fund of the State amounts 
to between five and six millions of dollars; yet the colleges 
of the State which furnish, and which zvill furnish, a vast 
numerical proportion of the teachers, have, as yet, received 
from the State nothing but the naked donation of their chiar- 

" 'The original School Fund of the State, created by act 
of Congress, was three per cent, of the net proceeds of the 
sales of public lands in the State, less one sixth of the whole 
amount of said School Fund, and called the "College or Uni- 
versity Fund." There was never a doubt raised or uttered 
about the intention of the law creating this College Fund, 
first borrowed by and afterward devoted to the common schools 
of this State, in the "Normal University," first, because, through 
trustees and officers of the colleges, they were and are, also, 
first of all, friends of our common schools, and wished, and 
still wish, all to be done for them which money can do. No 
meetings were held, and no attempts were made by the friends 
of the colleges to prevent this diversion of the College Fund 
from its original intent. And we, presidents of existing col- 
leges, do not now propose to complain of or disturb this di- 
version. We simply allude to it to show that the colleges of 
this State are the natural and actual friends and mothers of 
popular education ; and, instead of grasping at funds not prop- 
erly their own, as some ignorant persons have been wont to 


insinuate, the colleges have seen their own fund diverted to 
the uses of common schools without murmur or remonstrance. 

" 'Your committee further submit that in the breaking out 
of the late slavery rebellion our colleges were nearly depleted 
of our able-bodied young men, because our colleges were con- 
venient recruiting-places and their officers and pupils were 
patriots. A remnant of our former students have come back 
to us, and with them a multitude of their comrades, whom the 
war has left alive. One of our colleges has given receipted 
bills to returned soldiers already amounting to some $2,000. 
Others may have done more; and none of us wish to charge 
these State troops with tuition bills. We think, therefore, that 
the members of our forthcoming Legislature will count it a 
pleasure to allow us something for the education of our State 
troops. ' And your committee respectfully recommends this 
body to petition the Legislature so to do. 

" 'Your committee further submit that : July 2, 1862, the 
Congress of the United States had passed, and the president 
on that day approved, a bill donating public lands amounting 
to 30,000 acres for each Senator and Representative to each 
of all loyal States, for agricultural and mechanical colleges. 
Our share of this fund is 480,000 acres. 

" 'And your committee further recommends that applica- 
tion be also made to our State Legislature for aid to our 
colleges, simply because they are colleges, after the example 
of Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Michigan, and other 
States ; and that the time and mode of such application be re- 
referred to a special committee. 

" 'The law provided that no buildings shall be paid for out 
of the fund that, with a slight exception, the principal shall 
be intact forever, and only the income expended, in the words 
of the law, for "the endowment, support, and maintenance of 
at least one college where the leading object shall be, without 
excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including 
military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are re- 


lated to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as 
the Legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe." 

" 'The idea of the law is plainly that, though Rhode Island 
may need but one college, the large States may need more. 
Hence the phrase "at least one college." 

" 'Under this law, Massachusetts has connected its share 
of this fund with Amherst; Rhode Island with Brown; New 
Hampshire its share with Dartmouth; and Connecticut with 
Yale; and, besides that, those Legislatures doubtless under- 
stand the law. There seems to your committee no difference 
in principle between connecting this fund with a college or col- 
leges already built, and connecting it with a new college after 
it shall be built. 

" 'Now, your committee are not in favor of connecting this 
vast fund with one college in one locality, for many rea- 

" 'i. Such single college and its model farm can only repre- 
sent the soil, crops, seasons, atmospheric changes, etc., of one 
spot in a State running through five and a half degrees of 
latitude on our globe. 

" '2. Such single college will teach only some three or four 
farmers' sons in each of our counties, if it teaches even one to 
a county. 

" '3. Such single college must either exclude Christianity 
entirely, and so be either atheist or pagan, or, if it admits 
Christianity at all, it must support that form of Christianity 
which it admits, with our State fund, and so be a cause of 
jealousy and wrangling among sects and political parties. 

" 'Your committee, therefore, think that our State Legis- 
lature should by this fund, and a small additional appropria- 
tion if needed, boldly attempt to teach agriculture and mechan- 
ics in every considerable college in this State, instead of teach- 
ing all the various branches of a college education in one 

" 'Some of our reasons are: 


" *i. The fund is adequate, or nearly so. Two thousand 
dollars a year, fifteen hundred for the professor and five hun- 
dred for his books and tools, would respectably support an 
agricultural department in a college. 

" '2. By establishing a central board, or college, with 
branches, the Legislature, without meddling with the religions 
of the existing colleges, could forever retain control of the 
agricultural fund, and drop at will any branch, in any institu- 
tion, which should be found unworthy or incompetent. 

" '3. And then such a dififused college, with branches, set 
in the different colleges throughout the State, would teach 
agriculture or mechanics, one or both, to all our youth, male 
and female, who in coming generations shall frequent these 
colleges, and thus agi-iculturize the education and educationize 
the agriculture of the State, which was and is the object of 
the bill creating this fund. 

" '4. And, finally, by a small model farm connected with 
each college, for trees and flowers, with a few acres for ex- 
periments in soils and crops, which farms, like public parks, 
will be places of popular resort, the art of agriculture will be 
placed, as it ought, in the forefront of the actual educational 
forces of the whole State. Each religious denomination, satis- 
fied with its just and equal treatment by the State, will have 
no motive to plot or wrangle; a wholesome rivalry, without 
the possibility of conflict, will incite each to excel the other 
in carrying out the objects of the fund, and courtesy and kind- 
ness to the intercourse of annual meetings will perpetually 
soften denominational peculiarities without weakening denom- 
inational attachment to the truth as each conceives it. The 
meeting of college officers with the farmers at our State fairs, 
in connection with which the Agricultural College should meet, 
will give each the benefit of the other, scholarship or strong 
sense, and thus make us one homogeneous, intelligent people, 
and so, more than any other agency or institution, contribute 
to the true greatness and glory of our State.' 


"President Wallace took an optimistic view of the state of 
affairs. He knew of many in his own institution who first 
chose the scientific course, but soon inquired how they might 
enter into the classical department. College men were not 
doing much, and the youth were noticing it. 'It is our own 
fault,' he said, 'that there exists a hostility, and now we must 
change our own course.' " 

The report of the Committee on Legislative Aid was an 
able article, and was in some parts difficult for those who ad- 
vocated the use of the land-grant funds for a central State 
college to controvert in the public mind at that critical period. 
The habit of trusting and believing what the prominent educa- 
tional men of the State advocated, especially presidents of 
colleges, as well as old customs and inherited views, lent weight 
to the utterances of this committee. But at this late day, with 
the proof of the fallacy of all these arguments and our great 
State universities fulfilling their mission as an ever-present 
object-lesson, it is amusing, to say the least, to read the reasons 
given for dividing the "fund." One reason given was that 
the fund was ample to give two thousand dollars to each col- 
lege, fifteen hundred dollars for a professor, leaving five hun- 
dred dollars for his books and tools, which would respectably 
support an agricultural department in a college. 

A few weeks after the convention of college presidents, 
President Blanchard began a series of articles in the news- 
papers to prove that the State University must necessarily 
seem infidel, if it was not, because it would be under no de- 
nominational guidance. Professor Turner had these articles 
in mind when he spoke before the State Teachers' Association, 
December 31, 1866. Extracts from a newspaper report of 
this extemporaneous address show well the spirit in which he 
conceived the educational movement which he had led: 

"Professor Turner remarked that he agreed with the views 


given by the president of the convention in his opening address 
in regard to this university, and then continued: 

" 'We have,' he said, 'from the start aimed to build a sys- 
tem of industrial universities in each State, covering the con- 
tinent, and not a mere local State College. Such was the spirit 
and aim of our first petition to Congress, years ago, as the 
express wording of that petition plainly shows. Such is the 
explicit aim of the grant from Congress. But, somehow, the 
strange idea has got abroad that political States cannot suc- 
cessfully build universities. While the fact is that no uni- 
versity and no institution that has the least hope of ever be- 
coming a university, in any proper sense of that term, was ever 
built on this continent or any other without the direct patron- 
age and control of the political State to a greater or less ex- 

"He instanced the past and present history of Harvard, Yale, 
and Union colleges, the universities in Virginia, Kentucky, 
Missouri, and Michigan. 

" 'So far, then, from its being true that political States can- 
not safely be trusted to build universities, it is strictly true 
that no other power is or ever has been adequate to the task ; 
and if Illinois, or any other State, is ever to have a university 
worthy of the name, the State unquestionably must build it. 
But what is the State, and who rules it, on this continent, 
that we should be so anxiously cautioned to distrust it ? Un- 
der our institutions the State is simply the people, neither more 
nor less. And who and what are the people of Illinois, and 
of this Union, that they should be told to their faces that they 
are unfit to be trusted to plan and build institutions for the 
education of their own children? . 

" 'Mr. President, this people has just returned from a great 
funeral, in which, for the love of God and Christ, for human 
justice and human rights, they have, most sadly, it is true, 
but still cheerfully, buried a quarter of a million of their sons 
and brothers on the field of battle, and wiped the great dis- 


grace of the age from the realm. And is this people to be 
thus ruthlessly told, with these tears still upon their cheeks, 
that they have not sense, and piety, and self-devotion, and 
patriotism enough to plan and build the needful institutions 
for the proper education of their surviving sons, and daugh- 
ters, and friends? And that the result of their efiforts will be 
"pagan or atheistic" ? Is this common-school convention pagan 
or atheistic because we, for the time being, suppress our peculiar 
denominational or individual views in deference to the great 
common claims of a higher Christian humanity? And do you, 
my friends, necessarily turn more atheistic and pagan while 
here to discuss the great practical interests of the proper educa- 
tion of the children of the millions of families in the land, and 
to prepare them for the destinies of this world and the world 
to come, or do you feel less love to God, or to Christ, or to 
men, than you would if you were met to wrangle over some 
dry ecclesiastical dogma which no man of sense on earth ever 
did believe or ever will believe? 

" 'Mr. President, I am sick and tired and disgusted with 
hearing about a Christianity that can only be kept in the world 
in a bandbox or in the care of a dry-nurse. And I wish here 
to affirm that wherever freedom is, there Christianity must 
be; and wherever Christ is, there freedom must and shall be. 
For this is the everlasting decree of the Infinite and Eternal 
God; and man can neither revoke nor resist it. You have 
asked how you could get Christianity into our schools. I ask 
you, in turn, how will you get it out of them? And I defy 
you to do it so long as God lives and freedom exists. 

" 'Men will still say and do foolish things about it, as here- 
tofore, and perhaps it is the only thing on this earth which 
even its friends cannot kill. With such a people, and such a 
Gospel, and such a God, we do not need ecclesiastical super- 
visors and guardians to climb up and bore gimlet-holes in 
the sky to let the light of heaven down into our schools and 
hearts. All we need is simply to sweep away the absurd fix- 


tures and customs and usages which have ever only obstructed 
its light, and its wide and broad day beams will stream in 
from all sides upon us, of course; and all these unseemly and 
untoward words and influences will no more disturb the solid 
basis of its being than the ripples and spray on the ocean beach 
will wash down the far-off mountain heights in the serene 
bosom of the continual lands beyond. I wish that some of 
these good, anxious, and fidgety souls could ever be persuaded 
that Almighty God did not send them into the world to act 
as the dry-nurses of Christianity; on the other hand, He sent 
Christianity into the world to nurse and take care of them. 
But we must allow good men sometimes to mistake their call- 
ing; and on this point I have prayed for years that "Otello's 
occupation" might be gone. After all the effort to breed dis- 
trust of the capacity of the State and the people to manage 
public institutions with Christian wisdom and beneficence, I 
here and now undertake to say that there is not on this broad 
earth a system of institutions that have been generally better 
managed than the State institutions of this same people of 
Illinois, including the Normal University at Bloomington and 
the several institutions in this town. And so it will be in the 
history of that great system of national universities which they 
are about to found, till, ere long, we, here in Illinois, so recently 
the home of the prairie-wolf and the panther, shall have a com- 
plete system of beneficent, humane, literary, scientific, and pro- 
fessional institutions, unsurpassed by any in their practical be- 
nignity, efficacy, and power over all our interests, by any be- 
neath the circuit of the sun. And, my friends, it is in your 
power, in the power of those now in this town and in this room, 
to do in the few short weeks to come more to further this 
glorious result than it ordinarily falls to the lot of man to do 
in a lifetime.' 

"Then he clearly pointed out the necessary connection be- 
tween the proposed university and the common schools." 


The following note from Professor Turner was printed in 
the Tribune following its report of his address : 

"Mr. Editor: 

"Should any deem my remarks inapposite in the Teachers* 
Convention on the inevitable perpetuity of Christianity in all 
our schools on this continent, I beg leave to suggest, in further 
illustration of the subject, that we have already tried the ex- 
periment of attempting its extermination on over four millions 
of colored slaves on a great scale. 

"We shut them out from all light from the Bible, and from 
all our schools and literatures ; we hemmed them in with fugi- 
tive-slave laws, and employed the whole force of our courts, 
our army and navy, to crush out all the Christianity that was 
in them, and keep out all that might by any possibility get 
into them; we leveled against them almost the entire force of 
our arms, our voteSj our schools, our literature, our pulpits, 
and our prayers; we called on our doctors of divinity, with 
their 'Onesimuses,' their 'Hams,' their 'Hagars,' devil and all, 
to try to physic it out of them; we even, at last, forced our 
brave boys in blue to stand guard over 'this kind of property' 
and keep Christianity out of them at the point of the bayonet. 
But, after all, it turned out, at last, that the negroes had got 
more Christianity than all the rest of us, simply because the 
good Lord would keep pouring it into their hearts in spite of 
us. With this ever memorable experiment before us, I think 
we may safely conclude that the Lord has determined that this 
shall be a Christian continent. At any rate, we are no more 
competent to take care of Christianity than we are the solar 
system or the laws of nature. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 


This encouraging letter from Julian M. Sturtevant, president 
of Illinois College, was written December 24, 1866: 

^'Professor J. B. Turner. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Yours is received and read. 
"You are not to infer that the action of the trustees of Illi- 
nois College will not be all which we desire in respect to our 
present plans. 

"For myself, nothing can be added to the intensity of my 
desire for the success of our plans, or my dread of a failure. 
I agree with you that 'concentration' we must have. There is 
nothing noble, generous, great, or good which the spirit of 
sect is not reducing to weakness. May the spirit of the living 
God descend on us and upon the people in this crisis. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. M. Sturtevant." 



THE efforts of the presidents of existing colleges to prevent 
the foundation of a single new industrial university were 
unsuccessful. The Illinois Legislature of 1867 not only held 
to this policy, but definitely located the new institution on its 
present site in Champaign. 

Champaign County had put forth efforts earlier than any 
other section of the State to secure the new University. It 
placed its claims before the Legislature of 1866. But the State 
agricultural, horticultural, and educational societies proposed 
that the various sections of the State be allowed to bid for the 
right to secure the new institution, and the Legislature of 1867 
adopted this plan. In the meanwhile, the advocates of Cham- 
paign appeared again to renew their fight at the opening of 
the session of 1867. The following letter from Professor 
Turner to an Illinois paper shows the situation at that time: 

"Mr. Editor: 

"I am not a little surprised at the ground taken by your 
paper upon this question. I am not aware that any one wishes 
to disparage or undervalue the nohle efforts and generous offers 
of the citizens of Champaign. But their agents, have broken 
away from the fair and equal democratic rule of free and open 
competition among all the counties, which was proposed by all 
the State agricultural, horticultural, and educational societies, 
and urged by their authorized committees through the last 
session, and at the same time with the bill offered by General 
Fuller in the Senate yesterday. They insist on the direct iso- 
lated claims of Champaign against all other competitors. Had 
they not persisted in this unwise course at the last session, there 



can be but little doubt that the institution would have been run- 
ning in Champaign County to-day. 

"The friends of free competition have now again revived 
that same bill. They not only ask, but they demand, its im- 
mediate passage. Give the counties the forcible power of legal 
action before you taunt them with indifference and voluntary 
inaction. Let the Legislature first untie the hands of the coun- 
ties, and in some way open this great interest to free legal com- 
petition, and then, if they remain inactive, let them locate the 
institution at once at Champaign or wherever they think best. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

On January 25, 1867, the Illinois Legislature, following the 
gKieral idea of those interested in the movement, passed an 
act, in relation to the location of the university, which per- 
mitted all towns, cities, and corporations to bid for it. Cham- 
paign, Logan, McLean, and Morgan counties were the most 
active bidders, offering bonds and money and fine tracts of 

Champaign County, which was very enthusiastic, had sent 
a committee to Springfield to make its bid and watch the Legis- 
lature. Bidding was strong and spirited; each advance made 
by one county was met by a greater from another county, ex- 
cept in the case of Champaign, which was content simply to 
increase the value of what had been already offered, thus con- 
stantly keeping in the lead with little effort and no extra ex- 

After the passage of the law allowing competitive bidding, 
the friends of the movement in Morgan County were spurred 
to greater effort. A committee was appointed, consisting of 
J. B. Turner, Joseph Morton, and Judge William Brown, to 
find out the wishes of the people. Circular letters were printed, 
precinct and town meetings were held, and the greatest enthu- 
siasm prevailed. The people at first planned to raise Morgan 


County's bid by taxation. A vote was taken, the ballots 
counted, and the project reported to be carried by a large ma- 
jority. Great was the rejoicing. But, alas ! a later and official 
count revealed that it had not carried by the legal majority. 
Not dismayed in the least, it was decided to raise the amount 
by private subscription. Professor Turner was naturally in- 
terested in securing the University for his own county, and, 
with his friend Mr. Ralph Reynolds and others, worked un- 
tiringly to raise this fund, with the result that $521,000, in 
land and cash, was offered. This was reduced to $491,000 
in value by the legislative committee that had the matter in 
charge; yet this reduced sum exceeded the next highest by 
$21,000, and the Champaign County bid by $216,000 — ^being 
almost double, as can be seen by the official report below. 
The legislative committee in charge of the location was, in 
the meanwhile, touring the State to examine into the claims 
of the various sections. The following note gives an interest- 
ing glimpse into its visit at Champaign : 

"SpringfielDj Illinois, February 10, 1867. 
"Professor J. B. Turner^ Jacksonville, 111. 

"^My very dear Sir: 

"I've been to Champaign and seen the 'Elephant.' 

"I can't give any opinion as to where it may go, but I don't 
believe that any power short of Omnipotence can take it to 
Champaign. We leave here to-morrow for Bloomington, and 
can't reach your place before Tviesday 'nohow.' 

"Our Champaign friends made two mistakes. One was, 
they had not made all their titles undoubted. Don't make such a 
mistake at Jacksonville. The other mistake you may guess at 
from the following enigma. If it becomes necessary to make 
anybody drunk (?), for God's sake don't have it on the day 
the committee visits you. 

"Yours for the University, "G. W. Minier." 

"P. S. Show this to Goltra." 


The final report of the Joint Legislative Committee on the 
Industrial University follows: 

"The joint committee, appointed in compliance with a con- 
current resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives, 
beg leave to report : That they have endeavored to discharge 
the duties assigned to them by said resolutions,, in visiting the 
counties of Champaign, McLean, Logan, and Morgan, and, as 
fully as possible in the limited time allowed them, have ex- 
amined the propositions of each of said counties in relation 
to the location of the proposed Industrial University, and find 
the same to be as follows : 

"Champaign County 

"The County of Champaign proposes to donate the Chamr 
paign and Urbana University, a new brick building with stone 
foundation; the main part 125 feet front and 40 deep, five 
stories high, and a wing in the rear 70 by 44 feet and four 
stories high, containing 181 rooms, having cost $120,000. Said 
building is nearly ready for occupancy. We estimate its cash 
value at $75,500. Also, 10 acres of land, in the center of 
which the said University stands, being about equi-distant be- 
tween and within one mile of the depot of the Illinois Central 
Railroad, in the city of Champaign, and the courthouse in the 
city of Urbana. We estimate the cash value of said land at 
$2,500. Also, 160^2 acres of well-cultivated farm-land within 
one half mile of said University and adjoining the city of 
Champaign, through which runs a stream of ever-living water 
— the cash value of which land we estimate at $20,000. The 
average assessed value thereof is $20 per acre. Also, 410 
acres of like farm-land adjoining thereto, with orchard, farm- 
house, and bam — the estimated cash value of which is $30,000. 
Its averaged value, by the last assessment, was $15 per acre. 
Also, 400 acres of like farm-land within about two miles of 
said University — the cash value of which is estimated at $20,- 


ooo. The average value of the same, by the last assessment, 
is $15 per acre. The entire amount of land offered by Cham- 
paign County is 980 acres. Also, $2,000 worth of shade, orna- 
mental, and fruit trees, at catalogue rates — to be delivered from 
the neighboring nursery of M. L. Dunlap, Esq. Also, $100,- 
000 in Champaign County ten-per-cent. twenty-year bonds — 
the cash value of which is estimated at $100,000. Also, $50,- 
000 in freight on the Illinois Central Railroad, for the said 
Industrial University — the estimated cash value of which is 

"The total offers of Champaign County are estimated, in 
cash, at $285,000. 

"McLean County 

"The County of McLean proposes to donate $200,000 in 
McLean County ten-per-cent. twenty-year bonds — ^the esti- 
mated cash value whereof is $200,000. Also, $100,000 city 
of Bloomington ten-per-cent. twenty-year bonds — the estimated 
cash value of which is $100,000. Also, $50,000 in freight on 
the Chicago, Alton, & St. Louis Railroad, for the proposed 
University — valued at cash at $35,000. Also 43 }4 acres of 
land, for the proposed University site adjoining the Normal 
University, through which runs a stream of water. The esti- 
mated value of this tract is $15,000. The average of last 
assessment was $18 per acre. Also, 100 acres of land, ad- 
jacent to the Normal University, and now held in trust by 
the trustees of said Normal University — the estimated cash 
value of which is $20,000. 

"The total offers of McLean County are estimated, in cash, 
at $470,000. McLean County offers, in lieu of the said lands, 
at the option of the State, other lands equally valuable. All 
the foregoing offers of McLean County are guaranteed by a 
bond, signed by its citizens, who are represented to be good 
and fully responsible for the entire amount. 


"Logan County 

"Logan County proposes to donate $300,000 in Logan 
County ten-per-cent. ten-year bonds — the estimated value of 
which, in cash, is $300,000. Also, $50,000 in city of Lincoln 
ten-per-cent. five-year bonds — the cash value of which is esti- 
mated at $50,000. Also, $50,000 in freight on the Chicago, 
Alton, & St. Louis Railroad, for said University, which is 
guaranteed by the citizens of Lincoln, and valued, in cash, at 

"Logan offers, in lieu of $46,000 of said city bonds, 355 
acres of highly cultivated farm-land, adjoining city of Lincoln, 
averaging, by the last assessment, $10 per acre, or 640 acres 
of like land, also adjoining said city — the last average assess- 
ment of which is $14.25 per acre; or, 420 acres of like land, 
also adjoining said city — the last averaging assessment of which 
is $15 per acre. A stream of water runs through each of the 
said tracts, and each is estimated to be worth, in cash, from 
$40,000 to $50,000. 

"The total offers of Logan County are estimated, in cash, at 

"Morgan County 

"Morgan County proposes to donate $200,000 in Morgan 
County ten-per-cent. ten-year bonds, whose estimated value in 
eash is $200,000. Also, $50,000 in city of Jacksonville ten- 
per-cent. ten-year bonds, whose estimated cash value is $50,000. 
Also, 200 acres of highly improved farm-land south of and 
adjoining the State Hospital for the Insane farm, the esti- 
mated cash value of which is $40,000 — ^the average of which 
by the last assessment was $55 per acre. Also, the Berean 
College building, in the city of Jacksonville, whose estimated 
cash value is $12,000. Also, about 6 acres of land in the 
center of which the said college stands — the estimated value 
of which, in cash, is $13,000. The above offers are estimated, 
in cash, at $315,000. Morgan also offers to put in the Illinois 


College building, whose estimated cash value is $21,000. Also, 
3 1 acres of beautiful land, in the center of which said buildings 
stand, estimated, in cash, $60,000. Also a library and appa- 
ratus, estimated as worth, in cash, $5,000. Also, the college 
endowment fund — estimated, in cash, at $90,000. Said Illinois 
College property is, in all, estimated, in cash, at $176,000. 
Said Illinois College property is under the control of its trus- 
tees, who propose to merge it into said Industrial University, 
as far as they can under their powers, but will be bound, under 
the terms of their charter and the conditions of the endowment 
to said college, to continue the organization of said board of 
trustees, and see that their trusts are fully executed and the 
funds and endowments are not diverted from their original 

"The total offers of Morgan County are estimated, in cash, 
at $491,000. 

"All the lands offered by each county are eligibly situated, 
of the best quality, and well adapted for the purposes of model 
and experimental farming or pasturage. The titles to the lands 
are all good, or can be made good upon the acceptance by the 
State. The abstracts of title, together with the plats of the 
lands, are now in the hands of the committee. 

"All of which is respectfully submitted. 

"A. I. Enoch, Chairman of Joint Committee. 

"Springfield, Illinois, February 16, 1867." 

In spite of the relative values of the bids shown in this re- 
port, the Legislature located the new University at Champaign. 
Professor Turner, whose heart was strongly ' enlisted in the 
claim of Morgan County, the highest bidder, wrote the follow- 
ing comment on the result to the Chicago Tribune: 

"This is the first time in my life I ever saw or knew a 
valuable piece of property to be knocked down to the lowest 


Through all the years of arduous work in establishing this 
Industrial University, I never saw my father discouraged or 
disheartened until this decision of the Illinois Legislature to 
locate the State University at Champaign. Whether true or 
not, he believed that it had been placed in the hands of those 
who cared to use it only for their own selfish purposes, with 
no consideration of the great blessing it was intended to be, 
or appreciation of the thought and labor bestowed upon its 
conception and birth ; and when the board of trustees nominated 
Dr. Gregory to be its first president, his cup of sorrow was full 
to overflowing. With a groan of anguish, I heard him ex- 
claim, as he read the news, "O Lord, how long, how long! 
An ex-superintendent of public instruction, and a Baptist min- 
ister! Could anything be worse?" Not that he had any 
prejudice against ex-superintendents and Baptist ministers, but 
he believed that class of men to be wholly unfitted to lead in 
a movement so new and untried. Besides, Dr. Gregory was 
from another State, knew nothing of the condition of things 
in Illinois, and was wholly ignorant of the whole movement. 
He had had no part in the great work, and was entitled to no 
consideration, for that reason, if for no other. But, wisely 
and heroically. Professor Turner cast aside all personal feeling, 
and aided the new president in every way. He counseled, 
encouraged, and helped him to rectify mistakes, and stood 
shoulder to shoulder with him in the bitter fight that later 
was waged against the University and its administration. 

Dr. Gregory found his duties in the untried field most per- 
plexing, and his path strewn with everything except roses. 
Two causes of anxiety weighed heavily upon him — the attacks 
of jealous presidents of other universities, and the fear of re- 
pudiation of the Champaign County bonds pledged by her 
supervisors. People who had anticipated a rich harvest from 
the many diversified interests that were expected to cluster 
around the University, which had been pictured in such glow- 
ing colors, found, instead, only hard work and many debts at 


the beginning. As the years passed on, and experiment and 
inexperience gave place to broader views and greater ambition, 
it grew into the grand University that is now the pride and 
honor of Illinois. This experience was true of all the State 
universities at first: the way was new and unmarked, and 
gropings and blunders were in evidence everywhere. Massa- 
chusetts had her trials, as the following extract will show : 

"Massachusetts Agricultural Colleges 

"Judge Henry F. French, who was elected president, has 
written a letter to his trustees, tendering his resignation, and 
assigning his reasons therefor. The following are the most 
important : 

"i. -Because the unwieldy organization of the board of trus- 
tees, , which consists of eighteen persons, residing in diflferent 
sections of the State, each absorbed in his own business, has 
rendered this work of organizing the school almost imprac- 
ticable. The act of incorporation requires that the plan of or- 
ganization, government, and course of study prescribed for 
said college shall be subject to the approval of the Governor 
and Council, and that the Board of Agriculture, with indefinite 
powers and duties, are made overseers of the college. 

"2. The value of the cooperation of the Governor and Coun- 
cil in advancing the enterprise, unanimously adopted by your 
board and submitted to the Executive on the 23d of January, 
1866, never received approval until the 31st of August, 1866, 
and then the approval was accompanied with a condition, which 
at the next meeting of the board you voted to be entirely in- 

"3. After a year's delay, since your committee was stopped 
in its works, you have adopted no plan whatever of the grounds ; 
the site of your single building is not fixed ; you have no plan 
for farm buildings ; you do not propose to complete any build- 
ing for more than a year; and, although you have employed 


the best talent in the country, you have rejected all its ad- 
vice, and I, as your representative, am held responsible for 
the delay. 

"4. I have encountered persistent opposition at every point. 
This opposition has been made secretly. The scheme at the 
bottom of the opposition is that the college shall be placed on 
a military basis, that the students shall be kept in barracks on 
the farm, as at West Point, that they shall be marched to and 
from their work at the tap of the drum, and that they shall 
daily be marched in military order to Amherst College, more 
than a mile, to the lecture and recitation rooms there. This 
is impracticable, contrary to the wishes of the farmers of the 
State, and utterly subversive of the whole idea of an agri- 
cultural college. I know you do not intend to make this insti- 
tution a mere appendage to Amherst College, nor do you mean 
to commit the commonwealth, without its consent, to a scheme 
involving extravagant expenditure ; but to one or the other you 
are surely drifting." 

Illinois was perhaps a little slower than the others to attain 
preeminence. Pitfalls many beset her way. In later years the 
College of Agriculture, the one great object of our State In- 
dustrial University organization, drooped and withered until 
life had almost departed. Repeated warnings were received 
from the Department of Agriculture at Washington that a 
new leaf must be turned, and turned quickly, or the experiment 
station, in which so many hopes were centered, would be 
taken from them. Humble apologies begging for a little more 
time, most earnest pleadings and most anxious fears on the 
part of those in charge of the College of Agriculture, were 
the only reward during years of battling with seemingly in- 
surmountable difficulties. Finally, those for whom the Col- 
lege of agriculture was intended — ^presidents, officers, and 
friends of all the Illinois associations of labor — arose in their 
indignation and might and demanded their rights. To-day 


the College of Agriculture of Illinois is the equal of any and 
the superior of many.* Providence overrules all things for 
good. The location of the University in Champaign County 
has proved most advantageous to the State and to the people. 
Logan, McLean, and Morgan counties each have State inter- 
ests in their midst. Morgan had then large institutions. It 
was wise and just that other parts of the State should be 
recognized and great public trusts confided to their keeping. 
It was not the location that the friends of the University 
movement feared, but the spirit in which it was sought and 
won; for this reason they secured, after a bitter fight, the 
following legislation: 

"An act supplemental to an act entitled 'An act to provide for 
the organization, endowment, and maintenance of the Illi- 
nois Industrial University.' 
"Section i. Be it enacted by the people of the State of 
Illinois, represented in the General Assembly, That if the legal 
authorities of the County of Champaign shall not, by or be- 
fore the first day of June, 1867, convey or cause to be con- 
veyed to the board of trustees of the Illinois Industrial Uni- 
versity a good and unencumbered title, in fee simple, all the 
real estate mentioned and contained in the propositions of 
said county, and which real estate is described and set out in 
the act to which this act is supplemental, amounting to 980 
acres of land; and if said county shall not also pay over and 
deliver to said trustees, by said day, all the bonds and other 
property offered by said county mentioned in said act: then 
said board of trustees, or a majority of them, shall proceed 
without delay to permanently locate and establish said Indus- 
trial University in McLean, Logan, or Morgan County. Such 
county so selected shall in like manner be required in all things 

♦The following quotation from Professor Turner's speech at the first 
State Fair held in Springfield, Illinois, October, 1853, greets the visitor as 
he approaches the building: "Industrial education prepares the way for 
the Millennium of Labor. — ^J. B. Turner." 


to fulfill and comply with the conditions and provisions of the 
offer heretofore made by such county as an inducement for 
the location of said University in such county. 

"Section 2. This act shall be deemed a public act, and be 
in force from and after its approval. 

"Approved March 8, 1867. 

"United States of America, ) ^^ ^^^^ ^^ Secretary. 

"State of Illmois. ^ 

"I, Sharon Tyndale, Secretary of the State of Illinois, do 
hereby certify that the foregoing are true copies of enrolled 
laws now on file in this office. In witness whereof I hereto 
set my hand and affix the great seal of State, at the city of 
Springfield, this twelfth day of March, A. D. 1867. 

"Sharon Tyndale, 

"Secretary of State." 



PROFESSOR TURNER accepted the invitation to deliver 
the address at the laying of the corner-stone of the first 
University building, but he steadfastly refused to hold any 
office, either as trustee, president, professor, or lecturer — 
though his friends urged, and the opposition had tried to bribe 
him with the offer of the presidency. 

In the beginning they had openly charged that he was seek- 
ing a university to preside over and replenish his depleted purse ; 
this made him very sensitive and all the more unwilling to 
accept any position. He delivered the commencement address 
in 1878, and again in 1892, when he was eighty-seven years 
of age. This last address, a short one, was read by Dr. Burill, 
while Professor Turner sat upon the platform. When his 
daughter, in 1896, was the first woman to be elected upon the 
board of trustees, he was greatly pleased. 

In his address at the laying of the corner-stone of the Uni- 
versity, on September 13, 1870, Professor Turner showed how 
his forebodings had already changed to an appreciation of 
the great career upon which the University was already 
launched. He said: 

"Fellow Citizens: It gives me joy to meet you on this in- 
teresting occasion. For more than twenty years a little band 
of brothers in this State labored as well and as faithfully as 
we could for the promotion of industrial education in this great 
Republic of ours. In this labor no one of my comrades ever 
received one cent of public funds, in payment for either time 
or expenses, which was not at once appropriated to the ad- 
vancement of the general cause. We sought and accepted no 
offices or perquisites whatever in connection with the enterprise ; 



and not one single man of that original band of brothers holds 
any such relation to-day, or ever has held it, or, to my knowl- 
edge, sought to hold it. If, then, our hands are not clean, let 
those whose hands are clean wash us and make us clean. 

"At one time, as you all know, the whole enterprise seemed 
to us to stumble and fall — to come to naught, so far as our day 
and generation was concerned. I say, it so seemed to us ; and, 
however mistaken, we were honest in it. It was a dark day 
to us — to me one of the saddest and darkest days of my life. 
But we all decided not to attack the institution, but to let it 
live amid its new surroundings, if it could, even though we 
had no faith that it could. Then came the criticisms of its 
friends who were supposed to know of its condition, deepening" 
both our gloom and our despair, and intensifying all our nat- 
ural prepossessions, prejudices, and fears. We shut our mouths 
and bit our lips, and bitterly hoped for some better resurrec- 
tion of our idolized principles after we were in our graves. 
But all this is now changed; and it is not only our duty, but 
our great joy, to change to meet the new conditions. 

"For the first time I came to this University last winter to> 
see it for myself. I did not find any one of its professors or 
its teachers either omniscient or omnipotent; nor yet angels 
walking the earth in sublime grandeur, with wings at their 
shoulders, all plumed and ready for the skies. From the news- 
paper accounts I had previously read of them, I hardly expected 
this. But I found (or, at least, I fancied that I found) good, 
honest-hearted, intelligent men, prosecuting a great, arduous, 
and difficult public work new in its ends and aims, and untried 
in its modes and methods, with a patience, a zeal, and a self- 
devotion worthy of their great cause; and when I have said 
that I have said enough in praise of any set of mortal men 
that ever lived. 

"They frankly told me (what it is easy to see in any similar 
institution under the sun) that they had made mistakes, and 
were striving to correct them, and expected to make more, and 


to correct them, too. What more or better did any man expect 
who knew anything about the newness, the difficulties, and 
the natural and artificial obstacles of the great enterprise in 
which they are engaged? It will probably take a thousand 
years for a single one of these great free States to learn to en- 
dow and manage these industrial universities in the best possible 
manner. But what of that? Shall we never attempt to learn 
the greatest of all possible arts — ^the preparing of our Amer- 
ican youth for a true American life — because our art is diffi- 
cult and our lesson a long one? I shall soon die; you will 
soon die ; we shall all soon die : but these institutions will live 
— still live to learn their art and their duty, and to help the 
race, long after the oaks have grown, and fallea again, and 
rotted over our graves. Here, then, is my triple joy. I come 
here again to-day to cast off and abjure all my former preju- 
dices and prepossessions, — if prejudices and prepossessions 
they were, — and to bury them beneath the corner-stone of this 
new and beautiful edifice now rising to our view. And what 
greater joy can any man have than when he finds things bet- 
ter even than he had dared to hope? In this case, a resurrec- 
tion a half century sooner than I, for one, dared to hope for it, 
only a few short years ago. Why, then, should I not this day 

"This institution will need in the future, as in the past, a 
magnanimous patience within and a magnanimous forbear- 
ance from without its walls. A little censorious criticism can 
neither destroy nor aid it. Thank God, it has already become 
too big for any such result. It must now live; it ought to live; 
and it will live. The fly that annoys the elephant cannot devour 
him, even though he may continue to keep him in an unseemly 
wagging of his tail. Do the best it can, this institution will 
not, and can not, do all we desire, for at least a round hundred 
years to come; though it may, and it can and will, do a good 
work to-day and to-morrow and forever. 

"Some lament because that only a small per cent, of the 


youth educated in our agricultural colleges remain in after life 
in industrial pursuits, and, therefore, deem these institutions 
a failure. 

"Now, several if not most of our older colleges were founded 
for the special and avowed purpose of training up the youth 
for the ministry of the gospel ; and yet, it is doubtful whether 
five per cent, of the graduates ever, in fact, enter the ministry 
at all. But do we hear their trustees and graduates and patrons 
talk of abandoning these colleges because such is the result? 
Not at all. They well know a student will and must, to a 
greater or less extent, imbibe their spirit, become possessed 
of their animus, and tend to diffuse it over the whole surface 
of human society, in whatever profession he may be engaged. 
Verily, the children of the world are, in their generation, wiser 
than the children of light. 

"If, then, these sons of our farmers and our friends are 
educated in institutions which are in no sense conventional, 
partizan, or sectarian, but in all their methods, ends, and aims 
truly, grandly, and fondly industrial, natural, scientific, and 
American, and therefore Christian, I care not into what par- 
ticular professions they may choose to go in after life. This is 
a free country, and they have a right to go where they please ; 
but, wherever they may go or in whatever they may engage, 
they must and they will carry the broad scientific, catholic, and 
truly American Christian spirit of their alma mater along with 
them, instead of the narrow and scholastic spirit of caste and 
sect. We may treat them, then, as our men, true sons of the 
Republic and true sons of God, whatever they may do, wher- 
ever they may rest, or wherever they may roam the whole 
world around. 

"It is said that there is also, in our State, a small class of 
seven-by-nine politicians who occasionally sneer at the great 
cause of industrial education, and begrudge it the crumbs it 
gathers. Let them sneer. To all such in this State, and in all 
States, I have but one answer to make in behalf of the farmers 


and workingmen of the Republic : We intend to keep on ask- 
ing for endowments for each and all of these institutions 
throughout the land, until we have made each one of them, 
in some degree, in all needful buildings, apparatus, perquisites, 
and endowments, what they ought to be ; and when they shed 
the full radiance of their united glory and light over every 
State and every hamlet on this continent, from sea to sea, we 
intend to point to them and say to these grafters : 'These are 
all our stealings from the treasuries of the Republic; we ob- 
tained every dollar of them by the honest vote of a proud, a 
patriotic, and a grateful people. And now, where are yours? 
Can you, dare you, show them to us?' 

"The mass of our people pay the taxes and fight the battles 
of the country ; and, whichever party is in power, they do none 
of the stealing out of the public treasury. I, for one, am tired 
of the groaning and whining of a few who do it all, whenever 
these masses ask for a few dollars, out of the general or State 
treasury, for some great agricultural or industrial interest of 
their own. I have no doubt that the majority of our people, 
and of the Legislature, who are not thieves, will continue to 
give us all we may need in this regard, and that, in spite of 
all these croakers, these institutions will at last achieve a great 
and glorious success. 

"Let, then, these beautiful walls rise as the monument of 
our past endeavor and the memorial of our plighted faith — if 
not where we preferred, still to become what we preferred. 
Let them rise till the myriads who dwell upon the rich plains 
shall throng around to uphold, to endow, and to bless them ; till 
their rising light shall shine far abroad over this great green sea 
of prairie-land, with its woodland isles and ravines, to gladden 
and bless every farm and enlighten and exalt every soul — till 
ministering angels shall come to greet and bless their inmates 
with every morning sun, and bid them rest and sleep in peace 
with every evening shade." 




A T the inauguration of Dr. John N. Gregory, first presi- 
-^*- dent of the University, which took place at Champaign, 

Dr. Newton Bateman, State Superintendent of Public In- 
struction, delivered the address, a few extracts of which fol- 

"But the era of great combined movements, in this country, 
in behalf of the better education of the hiasses for the manual 
industries of life, may be said to have commenced about twenty 
years ago. And, whether considered in the light of the mag- 
nitude of the interests involved, the millions of people con- 
cerned in the issue, and the grandeur of the thoughts and the 
conception advanced, the number, eminence, and power of the 
men engaged, or the undaunted persistency and faith with 
which the contest has been carried on — whether viewed in one 
or all of these aspects, this era of effort and conflict for indus- 
trial education deserves to be called sublime. 

"Convention after convention was held; league after league 
was formed; society after society was organized; pamphlets, 
appeals, and addresses were written and published by tens of 
thousands of copies; petitions and memorials went up, from 
the lakes to the sea ; the law-making power was involved, and 
earnest, determined men thundered again and again at the 
doors of the general assemblies and congressional halls, de- 
manding to be heard on this great question. At times, in some 
of the States, the issue went to the hustings, and even the 
tumultuous roar of political parties was awed and hushed for 
a time by the great voice of the tolling masses, demanding an 
education suited to their needs. Repeated disappointments and 



defeats only resulted in fresh combinations, more determined 
efforts, and large accessions of strength. Able and gifted men 
from every pursuit in life, from every class of society, and 
from every quarter of the Union poured into the swelling tide 
the contributions of their learning, experience, and genius. 

"In the West, the man whose voice rang out the earliest, 
loudest, and clearest in this great movement — whose words 
pealed and thundered through the minds and hearts of the 
people, and the round shot of whose tremendous broadside of 
irrefragable facts and logic, and fiery rhetoric, plowed and 
plunged and ricochetted through these prairies with an energy 
and vehemence that no bulwarks of ignorance or apathy could 
withstand, and which brought nearly every farmer and artisan 
hurrying to his standard, from far and near, and put in mo- 
tion the imperial columns o^ our free-born yeomanry — ^the man 
who threw into the struggle not only the best energies of his 
mind, but the unwavering faith of his soul and the deepest 
longings of his heart, and who pleaded for the uplifting and 
regeneration of the masses and for the 'millennium of labor,' 
as the patriot pleads for his country and the Christian for the 
salvation of God — the man whose able reports, instructive ad- 
dresses, and thrillingly eloquent speeches were caught up and 
reechoed by the enlightened press of the whole country, with- 
out regard to sect or party, and which furnished at once the 
material and the inspiration of auxiliary and cooperative move- 
ments and organizations in many other States — and the man 
who, as I believe, through all these multiplied and overwhelm- 
ing labors, was animated not by considerations of self-ag- 
grandizement or sordid gain, but by the loftier purposes of 
serving his race and honoring God by uplifting and blessing 
the toiling millions of His children — that man was Jonathan 
Baldwin Turner, of Illinois. 

"This is not blind adulation nor fulsome eulogy. I know 
whereof I affirm; I am familiar with the procession of events 
to which I have referred, and the connection of that great 


and good man therewith ; and I could not sufifer this glad day 
to pass without a few words in vindication of the truth of 
history and the promptings of my own feeUngs and judgment. 
No other person is in any manner responsble for what I have 
said, or may say, in this regard. 

"And if I speak warmly of Professor Turner as a man, it 
is because I have known him over thirty years, during twenty 
of which he was my near neighbor, during four of which he 
was my teacher, and during all of which he has been my friend, 
ever kind and true. If his right to the place to which I have 
assigned him as the Western pioneer and leader in this great 
educational movement is challenged, I refer to the printed rec- 
ords and documentary history of the whole agitation, from the 
convention at Granville, in November, 1851, down to the 
passage of the bill creating this institution, on February 25, 
1867. Through all those sixteen years of struggle and effort, 
you will find him towering up as the central figure, the very 
Ajax of the fight, closely identified with every phase of the 
controversy, and with all its vicissitudes of fortune. His re- 
ports, addresses, memorials, and other papers are scattered 
through all the earlier published Transactions of the State 
Agricultural Society. The record of his personal labors is, 
in fact, in epitome, a record of the whole movement. 

"But I have also referred to the commanding ability and 
power with which he led the forces of the people and cham- 
pioned their cause in the great march to the gates of Wash- 
ington, and the final achievement of the supreme purpose — 
national recognition and aid by acts of Congress. None who 
have heard him will dissent ; let those who have not, read his 
ringing oration on the 'Millennium of Labor,' delivered in 
1853; or the 'Plea in Behalf of Industrial Universities' for 
his people, published in 1854; or his 'Essay on Industrial Uni- 
versity Education,' prepared by special request of the Commis- 
sioner of the National Bureau of Agriculture; and scores of 
other papers written and published during that period. The 


recognition, too, of the signal energy and grasp with which 
he handled the profound themes involved in the discussion was 
general and hearty, not only from the rural and metropolitan 
press of the country, both East and West, but also from the 
solid columns of some of the oldest and stateliest reviews, and 
even from presidents and faculties of existing colleges and 
universities, although utterly dissenting from and vehemently 
protesting against his views and opinions upon many points. 

"But then. Professor Turner does not expect anybody to 
think and believe and act precisely as he does — he would rather 
they would not ; it would savor too much of a blind faith, which 
is the especial horror of his soul. He would a thousand times 
rather a man would fight him from honest conviction than in- 
dorse him from stupid servility. I think that, upon the whole, 
he rather relished the criticism of the man who, after listening 
to an address from him on a certain occasion, remarked : 'That 
was a magnificent thing, but I don't believe a word of it.' He 
cares nothing for the ipsissima verba in speaking or writing. 
So that he can get his harpoon well ifito the heart of the ugly 
whales of error that prowl God's great ocean of truth, he is 
not paticular how it is done, or who drags the dead monsters 
to the shore. So that he effectually breaches the walls behind 
which cheats and humbugs are intrenched, he cares little what 
people think of his engineering. When pitted against an an- 
tagonist, his sole purpose is to knock him down in the speediest 
and most effectual manner possible, and so that everybody can 
see that he is down, regardless of the rules of pugilistic science. 

"A sample or two will best illustrate his way of 'moving upon 
the enemy's work.' 

"Speaking of the causes of failure in previous attempts to 
establish industrial colleges, he pulverizes one of them in the 
following style : 

" 'One capital and fatal error has been the idea that we 
should send a boy to school to learn to work, and not simply 
to learn to think; thus absurdly attempting to teach, by pub- 


lie endowment and munificence, the little arts of personal manip- 
ulation, instead of the magnificent science of universal success. 
Nothing could be more fatal. When I have taught a boy 
merely how to hold a plow, I have only taught him to be a 
two-legged jackass, twin brother to the four-legged team in 
front of him. But when I have taught him, truly and scien- 
tifically, all the mighty mysteries of the seas, stars, oceans, 
lands, and ages that are concerned in that act of plowing, I 
have made a man of him — had we not better say an angel? 
Art, in the sense of mere labor, mere servile imitation alone, 
is only animal — the common property of asses, dogs, and 
monkeys. But true labor, inspired by universal science and 
intelligence, is not only characteristically human, but also di- 
vine. What could be more absurd than to take a hundred boys, 
in their teens, away from their parents, the year round, and 
set them to dabbling with a hundred teams for a few hours per 
diem, half of which break their traces and run away the first 
hour, under the absurd pretext of teaching these boys how to 
plow ? When Almighty God created the heavens and the earth, 
and ordered man to eat his bread by the sweat of the brow. He 
created, and most likely endowed, the best possible university 
for learning all such mere manual arts; and if we expect to 
supersede Omnipotence by grants of land for endowments, it 
will prove worse than a Bull Run defeat; for no institution 
for teaching the arts and the habits of bare manipulation and 
industrial skill can ever be endowed at all comparable with 
those which the great Father of all has most munificently spread 
abroad over every household, every shop, and every field, 
throughout the civilized globe. The principles of science, 
therefore, and not the bare manipulations of art, should form 
the sole end of industrial universities.' 

"So wrote Professor Turner four years ago, demolishing 
a great fallacy and enunciating a great truth in a manner not 
to be resisted or forgotten, whatever may be said of his zoolog- 
ical illustrations." 


The first term of the new University began on September 
14, 1870. Professor Turner followed the early work of the 
institution carefully, and soon came into sympathy with its 
management, and with President Gregory, whose selection he 
had at first so deplored. The relations established between the 
two men is well shown by the following letter from President 
Gregory : 

"Champaign, February 4, 1871. 
"Professor J. B. Turner. 

"Dear Sir: 

"Your very kind and cheering note came to hand last 

"Your visit to us will be long remembered both by the fac- 
ulty and by my family. I think you did us much good in every 
way and your friendly efforts with the Legislature place the 
University under new obligations. 

"I ought to express the personal gratification your visit gave 
myself. If we had been misrepresented' to you, you had been 
equally misrepresented to us, by men who are too bigoted and 
ignorant to understand you. Your bold rejection of their little 
theological dogmas seems to them infidel, and they cannot com- 
prehend the sublime and large fai-th you avow. I have not met 
any one for years whose views more harmonized with my own. 

"Our prospect of legislative aid seems good. God grant, 
for the sake of Illinois and our common humanity, it may come. 
We have no light struggle before us, and we want to be put 
on vantage-ground to meet it successfully. If we fail, the 
cause of industrial education receives a severe check; but if 
we succeed, the days of fogyism are nearly numbered for our 

"Again let me thank you heartily for your visit and good 
service, and invite you to come often among us. My doors 
will be always open to you. 

"Yours for God's truth in church and schools, 

"J. M. Gregory." 



'T^HE plan along which the development of the new Uni- 
■*- versity was begun produced more or less criticism among 
the farmers of the State. Just what this criticism was is shown 
by the following contemporary report of the meeting of the 
Northern Illinois Horticultural Society, which was held at 
Bloomington on Wednesday, March 2, 1870, and which re- 
sulted in a petition, in December, 1870, to the Illinois Consti- 
tutional Convention, to enlarge the scope and resources of the 
institution : 

"Pursuant to call of committee,, the delegates from the 
Northern Illinois Horticultural Society, and also delegates from 
some of the county agricultural and mechanical associations in 
the State, met at the court-house in this city. 

"The object of the meeting, as stated in the call, is 'to ex- 
press the opinion of the industrial classes in regard to the 
reforms needed (if any) in the management of the Industrial 
University, as may be deemed proper.' 

"J. H. Bryant was elected permanent President, and H. D. 
Emery Secretary. 

"President Gregory invited the convention to adjourn and 
meet at Champaign, offering the members free transportation 
by railroad. He urged their acceptance of his invitation. 

"He said that if there were objections to the management of 
the University, those objections could be better ascertained by 
being on the ground. That the buildings, the grounds, and 
every department were open to inspection and criticism, and he 
thought that where a statement of proceedings were to go to 
the public, it was due to the institution, to the people, and to 
the State, that they should adopt the best means of knowing 



the fact whereon to base their actions. He thought that this 
city, being fifty miles away, was not the proper place to pass 
judgment upon such a matter. 

"Mr. Periam replied that he thought it was especially right 
and proper that this convention should sit here, away from the 
influence and seductions which sometimes are found in the 
purlieus of large institutions. 

"Mr. Ellsworth said this meeting was called here with re- 
gard to convenience of access. He did not come here to sit 
in judgment upon the University ; he came to join with others 
in ascertaining from the official reports, from the facts as 
known to members, whether the institution was fulfilling in 
its general scope the results contemplated by the law of Con- 
gress and the intention of the Legislature. 

"Mr. Harmon said : 'If this body wants to do the fair thing, 
and not prejudge the case, they will visit the institution. They 
cannot judge otherwise.' 

"Professor Turner said that, for himself, he should accept 
the invitation, and would also like this body to visit the Uni- 
versity. But, as he understood the object of this meeting, it 
was to discuss the scope of the organization, and not to speak 
of its management in detail. We must not do the wrong of 
passing judgment upon the detail of the management, but we 
have the perfect right, and it is our duty to ourselves and the 
people, to see if the wise design of its founders is carried out 
in the general results obtained, and in the organization of the 
institution. For this purpose we could sit as well here as 

"President Gregory again urged at length that the conven- 
tion adjourn to Champaign, claiming that it was not safe to 
either censure or approve until they could see for themselves. 

"Mr. Shepherd said we had here the published official re- 
port of the trustees, and upon that evidence, which showed 
clearly what the plan and effect of the organization was, we 
could learn whether this was an industrial university or not; 


whether the law had been complied with or not. He wished 
to find out, not if this was a good school or college, but if it 
was an agricultural or industrial university. 

"Professor Turner suggested that we take up simply the 
organization and discuss that. 

" 'But one institution that I know in the United States is 
organized to teach absolute science, to teach the realities of 
human life, the manual, the intellectual, the physical, the mental, 
in their natural relations as applied to the mind of the growing 
youth. That is Cornell University of New York. I want to 
see in this State somewhere an institution that approaches the 
field of absolute science, that will teach something better than 
words and mere technology. 

" 'It belongs to us of Illinois, the Empire State of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley, to battle with the effete idea of feudalism in 
education, and to build up the American idea of real science. 

" 'Our Champaign friends have not accomplished impossi- 
bilities. They have not the means to rise above the other col- 
leges which follow the feudal idea and build up a human monu- 
ment or elaborate metaphysical nonsense. We must extend 
their facilities and give them more means, so that they can 
give us what they so earnestly desire. Champaign University 
ought to have $100,000 per annum forever, and by so expand- 
ing its means of usefulness the wants of industrial classes could 
be met' 

"Professor Turner then offered the following resolutions: 

" 'Resolved: i. That it is the sense of this convention, judg- 
ing from the annual report of the trustees of the Illinois In- 
dustrial University, that the course of studies at the University 
of Illinois Industrial University is not in accordance with the 
design of the originators of the scheme of industrial education 
in the United States, or with the act of Congress, or with the 
charter establishing the institution. 

" '2. That, in our opinion, the ancient languages should not 
he made prominent, or taught as an independent course, in the 


Industrial University, but only in connection with an agri- 
cultural and mechanical education. 

" '3. That we claim the right, as citizens of Illinois, to crit- 
icize freely the doings of our State institutions, so far as the 
same is made public in their published reports. 

" '4. That a committee of five be appointed by the chair, in 
compliance with the invitation of the Regent of the Industrial 
University, to examine into the management of the same, and 
make such report as circumstances shall seem to justify to a. 
future meeting to be called by said committee.' 

"On motion to adopt the resolutions. Professor Turner was- 
called on to address the convention. He read from the official 
report the course of study at Champaign, which showed that 
it was so arranged that the languages were the last require- 
ments of the curriculum, which was as it should be. He held^ 
however, that the feudal theory of curriculum was too closely^ 
followed in its course; that scholarship was not the chief end 
of life; that elevated upright manhood was the great end of 

" 'The greatest curse impending over the American people 
is the fatal mistake of confounding schooling with education. 
Our theory of education does not develop the muscle, does, 
not strengthen the nerves, does not give breadth to the imagina- 
tion or depth to thought. It is words, words. It teaches to- 
avoid labor, to avoid solitude, and to evade the responsibility 
of actual life. 

" 'We have too much intellectual education, creating the 
crowd who throng our cities, who hang out their shingles on. 
every street, who want to be supervisors, governors, congress- 
men, or presidents. We are growing into a nation of intellect 
to the default of will, energy, muscle, and power. We are 
growing fast toward becoming a nation of supervisors and of- 
ficials. We are growing out of the age of physical and intel- 
lectual development properly allied and combined into an age 
of brain-work. Never was a more fatal error. 


" 'Champaign University fails because it makes scholarship 
the chief end of the student. It doesn't allow a boy to go there 
and study such agricultural or mechanical branch as he may 
choose without taking everything else in the curriculum. If 
a man has peculiar faculties for blacksmithing, in God's name, 
let him be a blacksmith. Metaphysics, what is it ? Ten pages 
will contain the substance of the labors of all the metaphysical 
fools from Aristotle down. All the new theories are simply 
changes of words.' 

"Professor Baker, of the Industrial University, gave a his- 
tory of the present condition and past progress of this institu- 

"After more discussion, Professor Turner offered the fol- 
lowing resolution, which was adopted: 

" 'Whereas, The time has come that the State of Illinois 
should assume her true position before the American people 
on the great subject of education; therefore, 

" 'Resolved, That it is the unanimous desire of the mem- 
bers of this convention that the convention now assembled to 
revise the Constitution of the State should make some appro- 
priate provision for that end.' " 

To secure this result the following appeal was made to that 
convention : 

"To THE Members of the Illinois Constitutional 

"A number of citizens from various parts of the State, and 
of both political parties, having felt a deep interest in the sub- 
ject discussed below, came together a few days since at the 
city of Springfield, to consider the best mode of presenting 
the matter to the consideration of your honorable body; and 
after free consultation it was decided to request Professor J. B. 
Turner, of Jacksonville, to prepare a paper which should em- 


body their views ; and, having carefully considered the paper, 
respectfully present it for the consideration of the convention. 
The paper is as follows, in part : 

" 'In the practical prosecution of this work our power and 
our inspiration must here, as everywhere else, flow from above 
downwards and not from beneath upwards; the greater and 
the stronger must uphold and inspire the less and the weaker, 
and not the reverse. That order of intelligence by which the 
university, so-called, derives its knowledge fresh from the hand 
of nature and nature's God above it, and showers it down upon 
all the colleges and academies and schools of all sorts below, 
can no more be reversed or dispensed with by us than can the 
fixed order of the solar system. 

" 'Eclipse the sun, and you at once darken all the planets 
around it. 

" 'The extent to which all our colleges and academies and 
common schools are to-day suffering for this new inspiration 
and new life, to be poured down from above through them 
and around them, to save them from the dead logomachies of 
a dead and buried age, in which they are to so great an extent 
still compelled to dribble and to drizzle, to launch them upon 
a new career of life and of power, is known to all who have 
given special attention to the subject. It is true, much, espe- 
cially in the realm of pure physics, has already been done ; but 
much more even here still remains to be done. We stand on 
the threshold of a new order of things ; the old order of things, 
whether for good or evil, has passed forever away — it can never 
be recalled. The grand sum total of our maxims, our laws, 
our faiths, our philosophies, our schools, our industries, and 
our arts need a reexamination, and a readjustment to the new 
order of life which we have now entered. 

" 'For the present purposes, all mere intellectual education 
may be considered as consisting of two parts : 

" 'i. Technology, or a knowledge of the uses and power of 


" '2. Science, or a knowledge of the uses and power of beings 
and things. 

" 'We have ample means of instruction in the former in all 
our district, graded, high, and normal schools, academies and 
colleges. Fortunately, the means of instruction here are very 
simple and very cheap, as books are the only thing for most 
part studied; a few cheap books, with perhaps a very little 
apparatus of some sort, and a competent teacher, are the only 
things wanted. 

" 'But the moment we step out of the school-room, up into 
the university, to study the actual facts of science, the uses 
and powers, not of words or of books, but of living beings 
and of actual things, we must have the objects of our study 
before us and around us, and the whole process becomes at once 
immensely complicated, wide-reaching, and expensive. So 
much so that all the cabinets and apparatus of all the colleges, 
and all of the high schools and academies west of the moun- 
tains, would not make even a respectable outfit for one single 
first-class university. 

" 'To develop and put in successful operation such institu- 
tions, with their needful libraries, apparatus, cabinets, museums, 
etc., demands heavy disbursements of money, such as no neigh- 
borhood, and few States, have the ability to command; and, 
if not achieved by the combined resources of some great State 
like New York or Illinois, it can never, in fact, be achieved 
at all. 

" 'Another obstacle in sustaining any great number of such 
universities results from the want of men capable of instruct- 
ing, controlling, and directing them toward their proper ends. 

'"No State and no nation can, in the present age of the 
world, furnish but very few such men. 

" 'What this convention can most wisely do with great con- 
fidence we leave for them to determine. 

" 'The war has closed; the land is at peace; new people and 
nations, not yet too much enlightened, are already knocking 


at our doors for admittance. They ask for light; let us give 
it to them. They want fraternity ; let us proffer them a brother- 
hood and a civilization worthy of their acceptance. Our own 
State is now nearly out of debt, and already begins to pant 
for her full share in the great and good enterprises of the 
Republic. She was no laggard in the war. She stands, at 
least respectably, in the forum. Only give her young men half 
a chance, and they will stand as well in all the arts an^d indus- 
tries, the intelligences and illuminations, of that era of peace 
that is soon to irradiate and bless and gladden the land and 
the race. 

" 'Whether these proposed endowments should be conferred 
on any institution now existing, to enable it to assume the full 
responsibilities of this new position, or whether some entirely 
new institute should be endowed for the purpose, I leave for 
others to determine. Certain it is, however, that first-class 
men in science can never be rallied around universities whose 
endowments and means of progress are unsatisfactory or un- 

" T am aware that our States in all such enterprises are still 
unschooled and inapt. I am aware that they may make many 
mistakes, and waste very considerable sums of money, before 
they finally succeed; but when I consider that they are really 
pledged before God and man, in their own fundamental laws, 
to do this work, to give a genuine liberty, and a genuine and 
not a sham intelligence as its basis, to all the people; when I 
consider the vast good to our industries and our arts that would 
accrue from gathering our finest State professors of geology, 
entomology, and natural science, and others like them, from all 
parts of the Union, into one school, where, by social converse 
and use of abundant means and apparatus, all the narrowness 
of the specialist would be worn away and the breadth of the 
true philosopher imbibed by each one of them ; when I reflect 
upon the probable benefits that would result from their sharp 
and trained eyes, and the eyes of hundreds of students under 


their care, being constantly thrown over the myriads of insects, 
and blights, and diseases that now ravage and destroy our 
crops and our herds to the amount of tens of millions of dollars 
annually; when I look at the civil, social, and moral prestige 
such an institution would give Illinois over her sister States, 
throwing abroad annually, all over the Union, hundreds of 
"well-trained young men into all departments of life, imbued 
■with her own sentiments, feelings, interests, and impulses, and 
annually gathering in an equal number for new schooling and 
new impressions — when I consider these and similar things, 
I am fully prepared to say, and to maintain, that if Illinois 
should sink millions of money in vain effort at success to as- 
sume this high position, and should then at last succeed, her 
success would even then be cheaply bought. Does any intelli- 
gent man really dispute it? Why, then, should we hesitate? 
We need not fail for one single year. 

" 'Respectfully submitted, 

" 7. B. Turner.' " 



TPVURING the twenty years devoted to his great agitation 
•^"^ for industrial education, Professor Turner engaged ener- 
getically in the many other important movements of that impor- 
tant period of the nation's history. He was a participant at Jack- 
sonville, in the summer of 1853, in the first meeting in Illinois 
of the organization that later became the Republican party. 
Nine citizens met in the room over the store of J. O. King, 
located on the north side of the public square. The meeting 
was organized by the election of Elihu Wollcott, chairman, 
and J. O. King, secretary. The following names were enrolled 
as members of the Republican party, and were the first persons 
in Illinois so to announce their political preference for the party 
that was then in a most embryotic condition: 

Elihu Wollcott, J. O. King, Anderson Foreman, John 
Mathews, William Harrison, Charles Chappel, James Johnson, 
William Barcroft, and J. B. Turner. 

One of the prime objects of the organization was declared 
to be "the use of all honorable means to prevent the extension 
of African slavery into the States and Territories known as 
free States and Territories." 

Another great movement with which Professor Turner was 
connected from the first was the treatment and care of the 

In 1846 Miss Dorothy L. Dix came to Jacksonville with a 
letter of introduction to Mr. J. O. King, in order to investigate 
the condition of the insane in that part of Illinois. Mr. Rey- 
nolds King, Mr. J. O. King's brother, drove her in a buggy 
over the State. At the next session of the Legislature, she 
went before that body and told of the cases she had seen with 



her own eyes, and the necessity of an appropriation for an 
asylum for the insane in lUinois. She had seen one man, who 
was violent and dangerous, buried up to his neck in the ground, 
with only a log shanty over his head. 

As a result of Miss Dix's appeal, supported by many private 
citizens, the Legislature awoke to existing conditions, and on 
March i, 1847, ^^^ appropriation was made for the founding 
of a State insane asylum. Plans were adopted for the erection 
of the first buildings, and this proved to be the beginning of 
an institution at Jacksonville which now accommodates sixteen 
hundred patients. On February 24, 185 1, Professor Turner 
was appointed upon the board of trustees, consisting of nine 
members. The institution was opened for the admission of 
patients in November of that year, with Dr. J. M. Higgins as 
its first superintendent. By this time a sharp contest had de- 
veloped between members of the board, which was about equally 
divided, in reference to the management of the institution. 
J. T. Holmesy Joseph Morton, and Aquilla Becraft were Pro- 
fessor Turner's personal friends and earnest allies on the board. 
Mr. Becraft was a Kentuckian by birth, and a Democrat — 
honest, brave, and determined, and all the more pronounced 
in his attitude toward other members who were of his own 
party and, as he believed, untrue to their trust. These four 
stood shoulder to. shoulder, and finally succeeded in establish- 
ing a record for honesty and honor in the management of State 
funds for the benefit of the State's unfortunate wards. The 
laws enacted and put in practice during their incumbency and 
through their influence gave to Illinois a prestige in the man- 
agement of State institutions, and her laws were copied by 
other States. The attitude of Governor French, who, as State 
Executive at this time, exercised the appointive power, is indi- 
cated in the following personal letter addressed to Professor 
Turner : 


"Springfield, May 2, 185 1. 
■"Professor J. B. Turner, 
"My dear Sir: 

"It seems to be the general wish here — ^besides, it is 
thought to be the best — that yourself, Mr. Morton, and Mr. 
Becraft shall take seats in the board and unite in organizing. 
After you have organized it may appear that you can count 
upon a majority to carry out your wishes. 

"The above is but a charity object, and may require a few 
sacrifices of feeling; upon the whole, I am inclined to think 
there will be very little difficulty in the board hereafter. But, 
if it shall appear it is impossible to get along, why, then you 
can take such course as you think best. This letter is equally 
for yourself, Mr. Morton, and Mr. Becraft, and besides these 
altogether private. 

"Yours truly, 

"Aug. C. French." 

As a result of the change of administration on the retire- 
ment of Governor French in 1853, — when Joel A. Matteson 
assumed the governorship, — there came a change of policy in 
the management of the State charitable institutions. Governor 
Matteson fell under the influence of what was known as the 
"clique," whose highest ambition was to manage the affairs 
of the institutions for the pecuniary benefit of themselves and 
their friends. A sharp controversy soon followed, which finally 
found its way into the columns of the local press. Some people 
thought, and said: "Professor Turner is always fighting for 
something. What does it matter if some of the money does 
stick to their fingers? They draw no salary; they ought to 
have some compensation," etc., etc. But the foundation estab- 
lished for just and honest management of all State funds, dur- 
ing these years of strife, placed Illinois in the front rank, and 
contributed not a little to her future years of usefulness and 
honor. Yet the feeling at the time was very bitter. 


In the summer of 1853 Professor Turner had been invited 
to deliver an address, on October 14, in Springfield at the 
first State fair ever held in Illinois. The night before the 
lecture was to be given, while he was in Springfield, his barn 
in Jacksonville was set on fire in three different places, while 
a high northwest wind was blowing, the incendiary hoping 
to have him called home and so prevent him from making his 
address. The fire spread to a long shed and a conservatory, 
just finished, partly filled with fruits and vegetables. All the 
animals, vehicles, and farm machinery, with grain and pro- 
vender, were burned. Had it not been for the heroic efforts 
of friends and neighbors, the house south of these buildings 
would have burned also. 

The wife and mother, awakened at midnight by the light 
of the flames and the cries of the tortured animals, gathered 
her little children around her, saved what she could, and the 
next morning sent a telegram to her husband; to which he 
replied by telegraph: 

"As I see you and the children are safe, will return after 
my lecture." 

A little later Mr. Becraft came to Professor Turner on the 
fair grounds in Springfield and said: "Do you know what 
absurd rumors are spreading over these grounds? They say 
your buildings were burned last night." In reply. Professor 
Turner took the message from his pocket and handed it to 
his friend, who exclaimed: "You call me friend and keep 
such a thing as this from me?" "Go over the fair grounds," 
Professor Turner replied, "and see who are most active in 
spreading the news; but tell them, every one, the lecture 
will be given this afternoon at three o'clock." Soon the 
friend freturned and said : "You are right ; 'an enemy has 
done this.' " 

From this lecture, on "The Millennium of Labor," a few 
extracts will serve to illustrate the enthusiasm in behalf of the 
laboring-man by which Professor Turner was inspired: 


"There is a good time coming. Poets have sung of their 
golden era. The devout of all ages have clung to this hope, 
and their sages and prophets, in the hour of their darkest 
gloom, have ever fixed their eye upon the future risings* of 
this millennial dawn. . . . 

"This millennium of labor is fast coming. I see it in its errand 
boys born from the thunder-cloud, outracing the sun; in its 
horses and chariots of fire and steel, that dart with lightning 
speed across every continent and over every mountain height. 
... I see it in the crystal palaces and in the world's fairs 
of either hemisphere; in the pride, the prowess, the chivalry, 
the glory, and even in the sovereigns and monarchs of earth, 
as they congregate to bow the knee and pay their homage 
to the rising greatness of this overmastering, all-conquering 
power. ... 

"Whenever the time comes that the real farmer gets abroad 
in the world, he will exhibit a loftier character than any other 
living man — man fully restored from the fall — and herald a 
brighter day than even when his antiquated progenitor, the 
schoolmaster, came. The same in substance, too, may be said 
of the true mechanic. In that day all the humbuggery and 
the cant that now reign in the books and the schools, about 
these schools being unfavorable to the development of the 
very highest order of intellectual and moral power, will vanish 
away ; for the living man will be there to give the lie to it all, 
and the whole world will find out, at last, that intelligent 
labor is the friend, not the foe, of mind, and that Almighty 
God was not mistaken when he put the first man in the gar- 
den instead of the academy, and made his own son a carpenter 
mstead of a rabbi. . . . 

"Shall not the millions of free laborers that are, in all com- 
ing time, to throng and till the vast plains of our great Western 
green ocean home, rise up hereafter and, over your prairie 
graves, pronounce your names blessed and your very dust 
sacred and hallowed, for one more act of imperishable benefi- 


cence done to them and to theirs? In your hearts let this, 
this day, be decided, and, at your homes and at the polls, 
let • it be enacted, and posterity shall declare you worthy of 
the name you have assumed for yourselves and your State — 
Illinois — the men — the men " 

After the address, which was most enthusiastically endorsed 
by the people. Dr. John A. Kennicott, of Chicago, correspond- 
ing secretary of the State Agricultural Society, stepped to the 
front of the platform and told the people at what loss the 
address had been given, and announced that a little box had 
been nailed up at the entrance gate, so that any who so wished 
might contribute toward making good this loss. When the 
box was opened, over five hundred dollars were turned into 
Professor Turner's hands — a large sum for him in those days, 
though small in comparison with the four thousand dollars 
lost in the fire. 

Nine months later the following offer of reward was pub- 
lished in the Morgan Journal: 

"$i,ooo REWARD 
"Will be paid by the corporation and responsible citizens of 
Jacksonville, in Morgan, County, for the detection and con- 
viction in court of the principal, or any one of the accomplices, 
in the crime of firing the plant houses and other buildings of 
Professor J. B. Turner, on the night of the 13th of October 
last, during his absence at the State fair. The above reward 
was voted and subscribed immediately after the commission 
of the crime, but its publication deferred from considerations 
of expediency. 

"Stephen Sutton, 

"President Board of Trustees. 
"J. B. Turner, 

"In behalf of the citizens. 
"W. Mathews, Clerk. \ 

"June 18, 1854." 


But no one was arrested. To prove the incendiary in court 
would have been a difficult thing. 

On December 29, 1869, Professor Turner was again ap- 
pointed a trustee of the Hospital for the Insane, holding this 
position for another two years. It was during this period that 
Dr. Andrew McFarland, who had held the office of superin- 
tendent for sixteen years, tendered his resignation, and Dr. 
H. F. Carriel, of the State Lunatic Asylum of Trenton, New 
Jersey, was appointed his successor. 

On July I, 1870, Dr. Carriel arrived in Jacksonville with 
his wife and two little boys, and began a most successful and 
admirable administration. The sum of seven thousand dollars 
had been appropriated by the Legislature for improving the 
ventilation of the buildings, and a plan for constructing ven- 
tilating-flues had been adopted and workmen engaged to do 
the work. Dr. Carriel advised delay, and decided to examine 
the old walls carefully before proceeding with the work. He 
found that flues had been constructed in nearly all of the walls, 
and, with very little expense, a system of ventilation was es- 
tablished which proved a great success. 

Professor Turner was greatly interested in Dr. Carriel's 
work, and greatly admired his energy and executive ability. 
System, organization, and classification of the patients soon 
changed the asylum into a place of quiet and comfort. So 
quickly and so perfectly was this accomplished that the Board 
of Charities became alarmed, believing that Dr. Carriel was 
using chloral — an anaesthetic recently discovered and placed 
upon the market. However, before resorting to a public in- 
vestigation, they decided to investigate more closely themselves. 
They discovered that patients, carefully classified, and when 
comfortable and free from exciting causes, were inclined to 
be quiet rather than noisy. 

The intimacy that began so pleasantly between the trustee 
and the superintendent was strengthened into a stronger tie 
when, some years later, Dr. Carriel, after having been a wid- 


ower for some time, married Professor Turner's only daugh- 
ter. This companionship lasted through many years; and 
when the doctor and his family came to live with Professor 
Turner after his son Fred's death, it was Dr. Carriel wha 
cheered and solaced his declining years. 

In April, 1871, Professor Turner, for a third time, was ap- 
pointed a trustee of the Hospital for the Insane, and served 
until 1873. During these six years Professor Turner labored 
unselfishly and devotedly for the benefit of this dependent 



T N August, 1873, Governor Oglesby appointed Professor 
Turner for his fourth term as trustee of the Illinois Cen- 
tral Hospital for the Insane, subject to the approval of the 
Senate at the next session of the Legislature. A short time 
before this, Professor Turner had delivered an address upon 
the railroads and other corporate interests, vsrhich was nick- 
named the "Heathen Chinee." It greatly angered these cor- 
porations, and the lobbyists who were at work for them, as 
well as members of the Legislature identified with them. He 
was most unjustly attacked and misrepresented. The question 
of his fitness for the position of trustee, which he had held 
for so many years with credit to himself and to the State, and 
to the help of the institution and its inmates, was entirely lost 
sight of in their anger and spirit of revenge. He was ably 
defended by Senator Whiting and others, but the majority 
refused to confirm his appointment. 

A correspondent of the Nation attacked the address. The 
following article will give Professor Turner's opinion of the 
correspondent's criticism and its editorial : 

"January 22, 1874. 
"Jacksonville Journal. 
"Mr. Editor: 

"I am glad you called my attention, this morning, to the 
criticism in the Nation and his frightened correspondent; I 
had not noticed it. I am glad I have stirred up the old setting 
hens about the Nation. They set very kindly, and even ably, on 
their stone eggs; but if anything under them begins to hatch 
and crack the shell, they are frightened quite out of their usual 



"It was so with them through the whole slavery contest. 
That small and scholastic world which takes its minutest look, 
and squint, and method from the Nation is all right. All the 
rest of us expect to go to the bad anyhow, whether in Congress 
or out of it, in the Cabinet or out of it; so we go on in our 
own way. 

'T understand popular agitation as well as the Nation dots. 
I have some faith in it ; the Nation has none at all. I think it 
is now needful. 

"The Nation has been reading homilies to us, on the decorum 
of discussion and debate, for years. Meantime, no paper that 
comes West vents more spiteful personalities against all men, 
in high places and low places, who do not take their cue and 
their methods precisely from it. 

"The Nation selects a few paragraphs, designed for mere 
agitation and excitement of popular thought and interest, as 
specimens of the whole discussion ; but neither he nor his cor- 
respondent has attempted to turn to the right or the left any 
fact I allege or any position I take. Nor can they do it, if 
fairly construed and used only for the ends I use it. 
' "Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

This address, which he named "Railroad Corporations, or 
the Natural versus the Artificial Man: Our Little Heathen 
Chinee," well illustrated, in its keen sarcasm, Professor 
Turner's method, at times, of dealing with what he regarded 
as serious evils in public affairs, as well as his foresight in 
regard to some abuses of the present day. It was, in part, as 
follows : 

"I have often thought, and sometimes said, that I can see 
no way by which the farmers of the West can get rid of the 
evils that now oppress them until we can contrive to get up 
several thousand first-class funerals of old judges, legislators, 


lawyers, editors, etc., etc., with a sprinkling of divines sent 
along with them to act as chaplains. 

"We hear much said against our railroad men on all sides. 
I have not a single word to say against them, except that they 
are, as a body of men, precisely like all the rest of us, neither 
particularly better nor worse. Personally, I have never met 
one single railroad man who was not courteous, gentlemanly, 
and just toward me, under the known rule of the law, which 
is equally obligatory on us both. In pressing their legal claims 
and interests up to the full extent of the law, they do nothing 
more than most other men do, and always will do. Nay, it is 
best, in the long run for the public good, that they should do 
so; for the only rule of financial interests we can at present 
adopt is the rule of the civil law ; and, as General Grant once 
most wisely said, the best if not the only way practically to 
get rid of an unwise or unjust law is 'to execute it.' 

"If either the laws or the lawyers or lawmakers desire the 
voluntary respect of mankind, they must first, like other people, 
continue to be respectable in fact as well as in mere pretense. 

"But, till we can in some way get rid of those old judges 
of the law, lawyers, legislators, and their abettors, who are 
so thoroughly steeped with the antiquated lies and quibbles of 
the law-books that there is no room for common sense in their 
heads or common justice in their hearts, I, for one, can see 
no relief. The infamy of our present laws has been both thor- 
oughly executed over us, and thoroughly apparent, for years 

"I am neither treating our laws nor the decisions of our 
courts with undue disrespect. An unjust law, or court decree, 
deserves no respect from any freeman ; and it shall have none 
from me. 

"I wish it borne in mind that I most fully admit, in the 
outset, all the moral, social, and financial benefits of all our 
corporations, and railroad and other companies, that any one, 
however sanguine, chooses to ascribe to them ; while still their 


pretended vested rights to steal by law, or to get hold of other 
people's property without their consent and without a just 
equivalent, call it what you will, has in no respect whatever 
increased their usefulness or their power for good, but ever 
has been, and now is, an unspeakable darhage and curse, both 
to them and to the whole country alike. 

"Some years ago, one of these old grannies of the courts 
and the law-books decided that a black man, in this free and 
Christian land of ours, 'had no rights which any white man 
was bound to respect.' There was not a man, woman, or child 
on the whole continent that did not know that that decision 
was a lie, as soon as it was uttered. Yet it was law — Supreme 
Court law! Well, we soon took our bayonets and pushed that 
lie into a bloody grave; threw in on top of it a quarter of a 
million of better men than old Judge Taney ever was, to hold 
it down ; and expended about ten thousand millions of money 
in covering it up and in erecting over it a suitable monument 
of warning to coming generations, inscribed: 

'Judge Taney's lie.' 

"Now, the whole of our present most appalling financial 
troubles arise from two simple causes. 

"First : Our Legislatures have given to certain 'bodies cor- 
porate,' so called, a vested right to steal. 

"Second : The courts and lawyers have agreed to lie them 
through in the theft; and not a few of our newspaper men 
and editors, for a small share in the spoils, hold the lantern to 
help them while they are setting their traps, and keep a dogged 
silence after they have sprung them. 

"The law compels you and me to go into court, either as 
juryman or witness, and leave our business and family and 
hang around it through the whole term, for one or two dollars 
per day, whether you are willing or not; or it arrests you and 
forces you into court, wholly without pay, and compels you 
to employ and pay your counsel, on a suit that proves wholly 


•unfounded and unjust; and you are obliged, in self-defense, 
not only to lose your own time and trouble, but to pay your 
lawyer all the money he pleases to screw out of you — it may 
be five hundred or a thousand dollars for one or two hours' 
work in court and a few hours of preparation. This is cus- 
tom. Is it right? I deny it. So far as any man is compelled 
to come into court to seek justice, all service pertaining to that 
justice ought to be as much fixed by law as is the salary of 
the judge or the fee of the witness or juryman. 

"The way the law makes these big men is this. It has a 
certain set of molds called 'acts of incorporation.' It takes 
one of these legislative molds and puts a dozen or two, more 
or less, of the little men whom God has made into it, and by 
due process of law out pops one of these huge men whom 
the law makes, having great and signal advantages over all 
us little folk in many most important respects, some of which 
I will enumerate. God has never yet learned the knack of 
making a human 'body corporate' without putting a soul and 
a conscience into each and every one of them. The conse- 
quence is that all we little folk are, all the- way through life, 
in all possible financial operations more or less burdened and 
annoyed, restrained and plagued, by a soul and a conscience, 
while the body corporate is not; for how can men give up 
the ghost who have no souls out of which to make a ghost? 

"One of the greatest of English jurisprudents has laid it 
down as a proper rule of law that it should everywhere protect 
the 'party taken at a disadvantage' against the 'party that holds 
the advantage/ a rule that would seem sufficiently self-evident 
to any civilization, and one which is everywhere applied to 
us little folk, but never to 'bodies corporate.' 

"Paul of old knew of only two classes of men — natural men 
and spiritual men; but we, in this age of improvements, have 
three classes to deal with : natural men, whose souls are not yet 
spiritually alive ; spiritual men, whose souls are spiritually alive ; 
.and law-made artificial men, who never had any souls at all, 


either dead or alive — 'bodies corporate,' mere financial corpses 
in deed and in truth. So it turns out that when this whole arti- 
ficial man, this body corporate, lies or cheats or swindles or 
robs or steals, even by the million, no crime is committed ; for 
how can a corpse commit a crime? Or, if it did, how would 
you punish it? All you can do is simply to strip it of its 
trinkets, if it has any. 

"Let us, then, look at some of the legal and artificial ad- 
vantages which these big people have over us little ones. One- 
great legal advantage which these law-made fellows have over 
all us little folks is that we have no vested rights to steal ac- 
cording to law, while they have any amount of them. So we 
have to do all our little stealings against the law and in full 
view of jail and penitentiary. 

"For example: I have contracted with my fellow to steal 
for him one hundred horses. I want to be able, according to^ 
law, as a simple business transaction, to steal these hundrecf 
horses and sell them to him at fifty dollars per head. I want 
to be able to have a vested right to hire any one of my neigh- 
bors, who make it a business to carry lanterns, to go with 
me from stable to stable, for a small pittance of the profits,, 
and hold the light, and help reconnoiter and lay plans, and 
then say no more about it ; and, if interfered with by the State 
courts, I wish to show that I am acting 'under contract' and 
the Constitution of the United States prohibits the State courts 
from interfering with contracts. And if opposing counsel 
object that a contract to steal horses is not a legal contract, 
I wish the court to be compelled to hear to law and reason, 
and admit that my contract to steal horses is every whit as 
moral and as legal as any contract can be which takes away 
from me, against my will, a strip of my land for railroads, 
solely for 'public use and the public good' and then, by any 
process whatever, transfers it to sharpers for their own private 
use, so that, in the end, I am swindled out of both all private 
and public use and benefit of my land, which I have purchased 


of 'Uncle Sam' and he confirms and ratifies and certifies to 
the contract, not on paper, but to make the evidence as com- 
plete and durable as possible on the best and stiffest of parch- 

"Say anything to any old granny of a judge or legislator 
or lawyer about this whole matter, and he will at once roll up 
his eyes, look wiser than forty full-feathered owls, and very 
patronizingly tap you on the shoulder and tell you that 'you 
are getting into waters quite too deep for you' — that 'you do 
not know the law.' Now, just tell the darned fool, as politely 
as you can, that you do know the law, and that is exactly what 
troubles you and what you are complaining about. 'But these 
are simply pure business transactions, and in a free country 
you cannot embarrass business.' We know it, my dear sir; 
we by no means ask it. Do we wish business facilities en- 
larged so that we, all these millions of little fellows whom God 
made, can steal by law too? . . . 

"No : we do not complain of these privileges because they are 
not equally open to all who are willing to avail themselves of 
them, but because they are not fit to be granted to any man, 
and ought not to be. We ask for no new privileges, for no 
mere law, common or uncommon; Heaven knows, we have 
had enough of it already. But we ask for justice, for equal 
rights before the law, where we now stand, as individual men, 
without the necessity of going into a corporation of any sort 
to get them, and we intend to have it. It may cost time and 
labor — it may even cost blood; but come it will, sooner or 
later, either by fair means or foul. 

"What fool, outside of our courts, does not know that a 
mutual contract, defining unfulfilled conditions by both parties, 
must be signed by both parties alike, or it is good for nothing 
and binding on neither party? Are our railroad charters so 
signed, by both parties alike? They have, from beginning to 
end, not even the form or the semblance of a written contract 
between two parties legally empowered to contract. They are, 


in form and intent and spirit, a mere conditional gift, a mere 
franchise, good only as long as the conditions are truly and 
fully complied with; and on that point the donor, who alone 
made the gift or grant and signed the contract, alone has the 
right to judge. At least, and at worst, has he not as good 
a right as the receiver has ? Did this one or two or half dozen 
men at first appear before the Legislature, to even propose to 
make a contract with the State in behalf of their fellows ? Nay, 
verily ; they came there to simply ask a privilege on conditions 
of promoting the public good. 

"Without this primal plea and promise of securing the pub- 
lic good, the Legislature had no more right to listen to them, 
for a moment, than they have to steal my horses. This pledge 
of the public good, therefore, becomes vital to the franchise 
from its incipiency. They came to ask, as individuals, that 
they and their fellows might in that privilege be legally em- 
powered to make contracts, 'to sue and be sued.' Until that 
power was granted, until that franchise was given, they had 
no more legal power to make a contract with anybody on earth 
than so many horses or wheelbarrows have. They well knew 
this; the legislators all knew it. How, then, could a party 
make a legal contract, while still totally incapable in law of 
•doing it ? Either with the Legislature or with any other party 
on earth? And while the very thing they are seeking is the 
power to make contracts, to 'sue and be sued' ? 

"As things now are, the 'Heathen Chinee,' either directly 
or indirectly, makes nearly all our laws, fixes all our tariffs 
and taxes, and controls all our commerce. He can by an easy 
combination anywhere pay twenty or thirty or one hundred 
thousand dollars to elect any senator or representative. He 
can 'do vast good' with all sorts of 'Credit Mobilier' stock: 
He can pass word to his thousands of employees, mercenaries, 
and dependents to vote for this man or that. He can, in fact, 
bribe all the principal attorneys to silence, in any town or city 
where he is likely to have a suit in court, by paying them what 


is called a 'retainer.' In court and in Congress he can get 
his own men in place where he wants them, and get all ours 
out of place and out of the wayj and deal obstructions called 
law, which are not likely to run afoot and alone, either in court 
or Congress, without some one to uphold and guide them. The 
paper rescript is mighty nice — ^most admirable ; but the devil is 
in the practical outcome of it. He alone can see clearly through 
all the fogs of 'tariffs,' of 'taxes,' of 'commerce,' of the 'laws- 
of business and trade,' because he alone hearkens solely to the 
'voice of the prophets,' which, to economize ink and letters, 
he always spells p-r-o-f-i-t-s. Smart fellow, this Heathen- 
Chinee ! And it will cost us more to release his grip from the 
throat of the public than it did to unclasp that of his first 
cousins, the old slaveholders. . . . 

" 'Oh, but the law comes down from England.' No doubt; 
but it never came down from heaven, or any other place where 
even any pretense of truth or of justice reigned. Who is so^ 
stupid as not to know that English common law was made 
first, from top to bottom, to wring poor men's noses and put 
money into rich men's pockets? 

"The first thing we need to do is to abate some of our stupid 
reverence for the law as it is, and begin really to inquire after 
the law as it ought to be. It cannot be doubted that our people 
have been robbed and plundered of more money within twenty- 
five years, through the ignorance, negligence, and depravity 
of those who have pretended to administer the law over them> 
than all the single-handed knaves have taken from them since 
the continent was first settled; yes, many thousands more — all 
done by due process of law." 

Professor Turner's nomination as trustee of the Illinois Cen- 
tral Hospital for the Insane was not confirmed by the Illinois 
Senate principally because of the stand he had taken in this 
speech. More than one State senator was publicly condemned 
for his negative vote by his constituents, and Professor Turner 


was invited by the Farmers' Legislative Club of Illinois to de- 
liver an address in the Representative Hall at Springfield, in 
reply to the attacks made by the New York Nation and the 
Illinois State Senate. This address, which was frequently in- 
terrupted by applause, was to the point, and at its close Senator 
Whiting, after a brilliant eulogy of Professor Turner, offered 
the following resolutions, which were adopted: 

"Resolved, That the speech of Professor J. B. Turner, to 
which we have just listened, in reply to the assaults of the 
Nation (a newspaper published in New York City) and of 
other parties, in defense of the position assumed by him in his 
essay entitled 'Railroad Corporations : the Natural versus the 
Artificial Man,' embodied in the tenth volume of the Transac- 
tions of the State Board of Agriculture, be published in the 
agricultural journals, and, as far as practicable, be distributed 
to the farmers' clubs and granges of this country. 

"Resolved, That Professor J. B. Turner, for his long and 
useful labors in the cause of education and industry, of equal 
rights and human progress; for his heroic and disinterested 
labors for reform ; for his self-sacrificing labors for the eleva- 
tion of the masses and a nobler and better civilization, is en- 
titled to our profound respect and warmest gratitude ; and we 
greet him as a leader among the noblest champions of labor, 
and are proud our own State can claim him among her dis- 
tinguished citizens; and we fondly cherish the conviction that 
the name of Jonathan B. Turner will go down the ages, adding 
honor and luster to the history of our State." 



PROFESSOR TURNER'S book entitled "Morraonism in 
■*■ All Ages," published in New York City and London, Eng- 
land, in 1842, was quoted, not only in this country, but in 
Europe, as the most logical and accurate exposition of the 
■causes and trend of Mormonism ever published. Many years 
after it was out of print, he often received letters asking for 
•copies. The motive for its publication may be seen in the fol- 
lowing extract from its Introduction: 

"The Mormons boast of one hundred thousand adherents 
in this country, and more than ten thousand in Great Britain, 
where their faith is making rapid progress. This may be an 
exaggeration, but, at all events, it is time the absurdities of 
their scheme were exposed. ... It ever has been true that 
they have made one hundred infidels to every dozen converts. 
There is much reason to believe that many of their popular 
leaders are, at heart, infidels. In their public addresses they 
■defend the 'Book of Mormon' by attacking and ridiculing the 
Bible. They are, in truth, the most dangerous and virulent 
•enemies to our political and religious purity and our social 
and civil peace that now exist in the Union — not so much, how- 
•ever, on the ground of their direct as of their indirect influ- 

Professor Turner carried on a correspondence with neigh- 
bors of Joseph Smith in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illi- 
nois, and Missouri. These letters, with the sworn affidavits 
accompanying them, were the evidence by which he showed 
that the manuscript of a novel written by the Rev. Solomon 
Spaulding, and stolen from his publishers in Pittsburg, Penn- 



sylvania, in 1812, was the original of the "Book of Mormon," 
published by Smith in 1830. (See the American Encyclopedia 
under "Mormonism.") 

Nearly forty years after his book was published, Professor 
Turner received the following letter from a former member 
of the Mormon Church: 

"Office of Kimball & Lawrence. 
"Salt Lake City, Utah, February 6, 1881. 
"Professor J. B. Turner, 

"Jacksonville, Illinois. 
"Dear Sir: 

"Your letter of the 29th came duly to hand, which I am 
pleased to receive, and very much regret that your work, 'Mor- 
monism in All Ages,' is not still in print. I believe a great 
many of the books could be sold if another edition could be 
got out, but it would be rather expensive to get them printed 
here in this Territory. There is one copy of your book in the 
Masonic Library here, and it is being read by a number of 
our citizens. I formerly belonged to the Mormon Church, 
and was with the Mormons at Nauvoo, Illinois, being then quite 
young and living with my mother. We came to Utah in 1850 
and I have lived here since. In the year 1869 I left the Mor- 
mon Church in company with a number of other friends, and 
since that time we have been doing what we could to bring 
the Mormon people around in harmony with the laws and 
sentiments of our country, but it has been slow work. Priest- 
hoods are the same in all ages — ^never learn anything, until 
they are forced to. The great advantage Mormonism has had 
for the past thirty years has been their isolation from the rest 
of the world, and their local political control of Utah Terri- 
tory. When this political power is taken from the Mormon 
priesthood and its adherents, then they will give up their as- 
sumptions and submit to the government which has been so 
lenient to them in the past. I must say to you now that I am 


not a member of any church, and believe in no creed but that 
of Humanity, and if your new matter, that you call 'Christ's 
Creed,' is broad enough to save all the human family, instead 
of a few favored people that may be inclosed within a certain 
creed or fenced off by themselves, then, in that event, your 
Christ's Creed would suit me. I am a believer in the Christ 
spirit and his teachings, but not in the atonement doctrine or 
his immaculate conception. If you get out a new edition of 
your book I will take one hundred copies. 

"Yours very truly, 

"H. W. Lawrence." 

In later years Professor Turner was much opposed to the 
admission of Utah into Statehood upon any of the terms pro- 
posed. As to this he wrote : 

"I have seen the Mormon people about their homes and 
shops, in their temples and churches; and I know very many 
of them to be an industrious, hard-working, and worthy people, 
well worthy of the best nurture and care of the Republic, but 
a people most woefully priest-ridden, tax-ridden, befooled and 
enslaved by their priesthoods. From this enslavement the gov- 
ernment should deliver them instead of enacting constitutional 
laws like this, which, on the face of it, consigns them to that 
slavery forever." 

In 1842 Professor Turner published a pamphlet on the 
"Philosophy of Money and Banks," which Daniel Webster, 
when he was Secretary of State, said was the ablest exposition 
on that subject that he had ever read. In the '50's was pub- 
lished his book upon "The Three Great Races"; in 1891, "Uni- 
versal Law and Its Opposites"; in 1892, "Our Republic"; in 
1894, "The New American Church" ; and in 1895, "The Christ 
Word versus the Church Word." In 1847 a little book was 


published entitled "The Kingdom of Heaven, or Christ's Char- 
tered Church versus Hierarchies and Sects." 

Although this was prepared at the request of the editor of 
one of the leading quarterlies, the peculiar handling of the 
subject prevented its acceptance. It had been taken to New 
York by Mr. George C. Noyes, afterward so well known and 
beloved as the pastor of an Evanston, Illinois, Church. He 
was an alumnus of Illinois College, and took the manuscript 
with him when he went to New York to attend the Union 
Theological Seminary. But he searched the city in vain for 
a publisher. It was then sent to New Haven to David Hale, 
editor of the New York Journal of Commerce, one of the most 
able defenders of genuine Protestant Christian freedom, who 
consented to honor the essay with an introductory notice. A 
short extract will show the spirit of the little book, and also 
explain why it was considered objectionable, if we will bear 
in mind the doctrines of the church in that day. 

"Men talk, forsooth, about whom it is proper to invite to 
the Lord's table. But they have no authority to invite to it 
or to invite away from it : it is the Lord's ; and when they have 
declared who, in their opinion, the Lord invites they have 
done their whole duty. And if the members of their church 
need discipline, let them attend to that, too, in accordance with 
the law of Christ's house at some other time, and in its own 
appropriate place and mode. Here let them obey the Scrip- 
tures, and simply 'examine themselves,' and not other people. 
But the habits of the church are sometimes so unscriptural 
and degenerate on this point that the most worldly, ill-tempered, 
and un-Christian professors are so puffed up with sanctimoni- 
ous conceit and spiritual pride that they will not commune 
because some one against whom they have a grudge is allowed 
to partake. Are these people so much holier and purer than 
Jesus Christ? He could commune with Judas himself with- 
out offense, without a murmur, without even an unkind word, 


or look, or thought. Such people surely must be quite too 
pure for Christ's church." 

The following notice of a lecture delivered before the Young 
Men's Christian Association of Peoria, on February 2, 1854, 
is taken from a newspaper of that city : 

"The text of Professor Turner's lecture last evening was the 
story of Diogenes, who, on being asked why he lit a candle 
at noonday, replied, 'I seek a man.' The lecturer took this 
candle and searched, with keen scrutiny, for true manhood 
in the various walks of life, holding his light so close to the 
pretensions and deceits of men as to reveal a great absence 
of that which the old cynic philosopher sought. The Pro- 
fessor is a very solid reasoner, and advances his conclusions 
with a confidence which evinces that he knows how he arrived 
at them. He spares no theory or creed which he thinks wrong, 
and hesitates not to uphold any that he thinks right. We be- 
lieve all, whether they agree or disagree with his views, will 
admire him for his independence." 

On June 30, 1858, was organized, in the city of Blooming- 
ton, the Illinois State Natural History Society, with Professor 
Turner as its first president. This society later received an. 
appropriation from the State Legislature, and made consid- 
erable progress in the collection of a library and museum, 
which were furnished quarters in the State Normal University 
building. In 1871 the museum and other property of the 
society were transferred to the State Board of Education, but 
later received the name of the State Library of Natural His- 
tory, and in 1884 was transferred from the State Normal 
University at Normal to the University of Illinois. 

Professor Turner delivered an address before the original 
society on June 24, 1862, on the subject "The Oceanic Ava- 
lanche and Its Counter-Currents." While treating of the dif- 


ference in temperature, density, and depth of the waters of 
the ocean, the discourse described the consequent effect of ocean 
currents (as exhibited in the Gulf Stream) upon climate, soil, 
and natural production. 

In 1868 he delivered a lecture, in St. Louis, Missouri, on 
"A New Route to the Ocean," from which the following ex- 
tracts are quoted: 

"If we look to the northwest of us, to the country lying 
about the head-waters of the Missouri River, we find the finest 
natural wheat-fields in the known world, — larger in extent 
than the whole of the States of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Vir- 
ginia, Pennsylvania, and New York combined, — as yet all un- 
developed and scarcely rippled by the plowshare of the pioneers, 
who are flowing in upon it at the rate of more than a quarter 
of a million per annum. Immediately west of us lies a natural 
corn and stock field, scarcely less in magnitude and impor- 

"This immense trade naturally flows to St. Louis; put this 
grain into gum-elastic bags and throw it into the rivers, and 
it will go there itself, a thousand miles, right through 
the heart of this great wheat-field, without the aid of steam or 

"The Ohio River is already navigable, for the greater part 
of the year, from its mouth at Cairo as far as Charleston, 
Virginia, on the Kanawha Canal. Both of these waterways 
were in operation before the war, one to the vicinity of Lynch- 
burg, the other to Covington, through one ridge of mountains 
and almost up to the base of the other ridge on the west side 
of the Shenandoah Valley. 

"Practical engineers have examined this route to the ocean 
and report it wholly feasible, at small expense; that the max- 
imum grade on the Green River is only twenty feet per mile, 
less than we frequently encounter here on our prairies; while 
the general elevation to be overcome is nearly eleven thousand 


feet less than the most favorable present route from east to 

"Norfolk is two hundred miles nearer to St. Louis and Cin- 
cinnati than New York. By this route grain and produce 
would go, neither imperiled by heat nor blocked up half the 
year by ice, up the Ohio and Kanawha by only a single reship- 
ment, out to the ocean at Norfolk, and on to New York and 
Liverpool, at less than half the cost it now requires through 
any more northern route. Unlike railroads, to every man or 
boy in the land who can steer a boat or barge, it proffers free 
trade and transit over a great democratic highway thousands 
of miles in extent, with full room for elevators and storage 
at any point along the banks of these rivers, admitting of no 
possibility of combinations for unjust monopolies either in 
transportation or storage. Washington and Jefferson both pre- 
dicted that some day this route would be opened ; but Virginia 
did what southern Illinois is now doing: she went to sleep, 
and dozed over politics and partizan triumphs, office-seeking 
and President-making, and discussed all imaginable two-penny 
issues on the stump, until her more adroit rival, New York, 
ran away with the trade of the world." 

Professor Turner strongly advocated the removal of the 
capital from Washington, D. C, to St. Louis, Missouri, or 
some place more central than Washington, claiming that a 
capital at the extreme border of so large a Republic could not 
have an equal interest in all the remoter parts. The greater 
influence of the people nearer — working for the especial needs 
and advantages of their own States — must at least be stronger 
and more continuously exerted. 

On the same occasion he pointed out the advantages of San 
Diego, California, as a port on the Pacific coast one thousand 
miles nearer Canton, China, than San Francisco. As evidence 
of his foresight regarding important issues of a later day, he 
advocated the construction of a deeper waterway, by way of 


the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, between the Great Lakes 
and the Gulf of Mexico; and in 1882 he delivered a lecture 
advocating the preservation of natural forests, and became an 
active member of the Forestry Congress organized at that 

Letters had come to him, at intervals during many years, 
■urging Professor Turner to become a candidate for Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction, Attorney-General, member of 
Congress, and Governor. In later years he was persuaded to 
run for Congress — with no expectation of winning, as the dis- 
trict was strongly Democratic. The campaign, however, was 
interesting and gratifying. 

He was foremost in every movement for the advancement 
of the working-people in the State ; was president of the State 
Natural History Society, president of the State Horticultural 
Society, and for many years of the Jacksonville Horticultural 
Society. He was identified always with the Illinois State Agri- 
cultural Society, by lectures and contributions on practical sub- 
jects, and was always a leader in the advancement of educa- 

But after the passage by Congress of the University Land- 
Grant Bill and the location and development of the State Uni- 
versity, he turned his attention to the one subject which all 
his life had been most interesting to him — the teachings of 
Christ. In religion, as in all other subjects, he was fifty years 
in advance of his time. In the evening of his life, one day his 
daughter said to him : 

"It has been such a pleasure to us all. Father, that you have 
lived to see the thoughts you uttered in your early life, which 
were so ridiculed then, become the accepted belief of mankind 
in later years; and especially that the land-grant universities, 
for which you worked so many long years, are an enduring 
monument of which any man and his family may well be 

"Yes," he replied; "it is, of course, gratifying to me. But 


my religious writings will be my monument by which I will 
be longest remembered and most beloved." A prophecy that 
is beginning to come true. Christ and his Word is now the 
text of almost all religious teaching. No longer is it Paul, 
the heroes of the Old Testament, but Christ, the bread of life. 

The union of all sects was an ever-present hope with him. 
Would that he could have lived to see this day, when it is com- 
mon for ministers of almost every denomination to exchange 
pulpits with each other ! 

While Professor Turner was preparing for publication his 
book, "Christ's Words," he received the following letter : 

"State of Illinois, 
"Department of Public Instruction. 

"Springfield, February i6, 1874. 
"My dear Friend: 

"I have just received your letter of the 13th inst., and have 
read it with great care and deep interest. And I must frankly 
say that your reasons for declining to entertain the proposition 
of your friends to make you Governor of Illinois commend 
themselves to my judgment. You are probably right about it. 
At all events, I can truly say, for myself, that if your accept- 
ance of that or any other office would seriously interfere with, 
if not wholly prevent, the accomplishment of the good work 
you have in hand, then I shall willingly see you remain in 
private life the rest of your days. It matters little who is Gov- 
ernor of Illinois for four years, but it is of infinite concern 
that the human race be not in spiritual bondage to doubt and 
fear and superstition for all time. 

"Very truly yours, 

"Newton Bateman." 

The following extracts from the Preface to Professor 
Turner's book entitled "Christ's Words" give some idea of 
his belief and teachings : 


"The leading chapters in this book were written many years 
since, but incessant calls in other directions have delayed their 
publication ; their main principles, however, I have maintained 
for the last half century. Many books written on the evidences 
of Christianity are evasive and unsatisfactory; their writers 
seldom think, but simply reiterate ; their only legitimate effect 
is to transform all simpletons into bigots and all wise men into 

"Such books and such modes of professed reasoning are the 
natural heritage of that ecclesiastical despotism which for fif- 
teen centuries stood wrangling over the mere outer form and 
drapery and symbolism of Christ's religion, until it had well- 
nigh driven its essential spirit and its peculiar power from the 
face of the earth. 

"Through all these dreary and disastrous centuries Christ's 
gospel was officially interpreted only in the interest of some 
despotism, either of state, church, or sect. 

"Would it not be well for us, who have the needful freedom 
and capacity, to commence our new national century by simply 
endeavoring to read the gospel, as in fact it is, as the sole 
logical cause and basis of all the true freedom there has ever 
been on earth, and the only 'divine power from on high' through 
which it can be perpetuated? 

"It is said that this is an age of mental imbecility, which 
craves only stories and concrete ideas well suited to overgrown 
children, and rejects all professed theological or philosophical 
discussion. May it not be that the age has already outgrown 
our hereditary theologies and philosophies, and mentally pro- 
nounced them both false and delusive? Is it not rather an 
age of strength than of weakness? The religion of any age 
cannot long afford to outrage the intelligence of its most able 
and thoughtful men. 

"It is impossible in a preface to outline the course of thought 
in this book, for the book itself, at best, is but a preface to 
the subjects of which it treats. 


"It is impossible to conceive of a true religion and a true 
science or philosophy that do not harmonize together; they 
are and must be a unit, unless it is possible that God can 
be divided against himself. The modern scientist presents 
to us his wholly unverified dogmas as the voice of science and 
the voice of nature; the antiquated ecclesiast presents us his 
as the voice of God. But, quite unfortunately for us, these 
teachers make God and nature tell us more monstrous and 
utterly unbelievable lies than all other talkers put together. 

"As a man's habitual selfish spirit, mode of life, and action 
at last arms against him all men, so the opposite unselfish and 
self-sacrificing spirit and mode of life draws all men unto him. 
Gravity does not rule in physics more certainly than does this 
eternal law of all living mortals. Every child knows it in 
principle before he knows that twice two are four. 

"This selfish mode of spirit and life Christ symbolizes as 
eternal or perpetual moral and spiritual death; its opposite as 
eternal or perpetual moral and spiritual life. This one is hell, 
and creates hell in whatever being or world it rules ; the other is 
heaven, and makes heaven in whatever beings or worlds it 

"Everything else in Christ's teachings, revelations, life, 
death, and resurrection is only motive power, gift, symbol, or 
incident to this one most philosophical and sublime end — the 
mere divine power and moral mechanism that eternally lifts 
all beings up toward God and heaven. 

"Where, then, is the difficulty in verifying Christ's real re- 
ligion ? It is exactly the same as the difficulty in verifying sun- 
light. All that we can see or know confirms it. 

"J. B. Turner. 

"Jacksonville, Illinois." 

The book, which was read by Professor Turner's friends 
and by people interested in such critical works, brought its 
author many letters, which varied widely in commendation or 


opposition. Some of these letters are quoted below. The first 
two are from an alumnus of Illinois College, the Rev. Thomas 
K. Beecher, who was for many years pastor of the Congre- 
gational Church at Elmira, New York. 

"Elmira, New York, January 27, 1878. 
"Professor J. B. Turner. 
"My dear Sir: 

"Send on that book. Of course I will read it, and of 
course I will tell you what I think of it, and thus have my re- 
venge on you, who, thirty or forty years ago, used to make 
me read my compositions to you and tell me what you thought 
of them. Turn about is fair play. 

"Yours truly, 

"Thomas K. Beecher." 

"Elmira, New York, April 19, 1878. 
"My dear Old Friend and Teacher: 

"Your book came this morning, and I have gone through 
seventy pages or so — marveling. 

"Scarcely a sentence that does not astound me into silence. 
You see, I assume you to be an intelligent, honest and ob- 
servant man. I claim for myself no more. Before us both 
have lain open the same books — history, experience, science, 
and human nature. We have each done our own thinking, 
and, lo, what astounding diversity ! If I were able, I'd 'go for 
you' as you do for the insolent ecclesiastics. But no man ever 
found the truth by pounding fools. To show up men's folly 
is a far easier task than to build 'upon a rock' the house of 

"Ah, me, dear old Hercules, the wrath of man never works 
the rightness of God. 

"This much for a first instalment of frankness — based on 
the first reading of the first few pages. I note here and there 
a choice sentence. Possibly I may annotate the book and send 


it back. But never can I enjoy a book, by whomsoever writ- 
ten, that is so largely destructive as yours. 

"Cut it down four fifths. Cut out the polemics, the nega- 
tions, the invective. Set up the fair fame of God's truth as 
revealed in Christ Jesus holding forth the Word of life. And 
so, fare you well; and may you be taught in meekness to 
oppose — if God peradventure may give repentance to the ac- 
knowledging of the truth. 

"Yours lovingly and in a hurry, 

"Thomas K. Beecher." 

It is interesting to note how two men having such opposite 
opinions on religious subjects could be such warm friends. 
Mr. Beecher must have been sorely tried, for in one place in 
the book he annotated: "Stop your scoldings; go on with 
your interpretations." At another place : "Insufferable repeti- 
tion. You have stated this five times already." But frequently 
we read in the margin : "Good. Very good. True — ^profitable 
and true. This is gospel." And in one place: "This is good 
enough to redeem the chaff and bran of the whole volume." 

A letter from the Rev. William Allen, another old friend, 
indicates a quite opposite opinion: 

"Genesee, Illinois, January 22, 1879. 
"My dear Friend: 

"1 have read about two thirds of your book ('Christ's 
Words'). There is enough in it to require a good deal of 
thought, and I have read it thus far with some care and much 

"Your iconoclasms and denunciations of priestcraft and 
tyranny are grand. I glory in your freedom of thought and 
plainness of speech, and I rejoice greatly in your optimism in 
the general view you take of the divine government. It gives 
the soul rest — it satisfies the ineffable yearning of a thinking 
mind. Yours truly, 

"William Allen." 


A letter from another alumnus of Illinois College reads : 

"Chandlerville, May 12, 1884. 
"Professor Turner^ 

"Jacksonville, Illinois. 
"Dear Sir: 

"1 have just reread your article in the American Monthly — 
'Christ's Words.' I want to thank you for it. I suppose it 
will receive abuse. It ought to — for it is true, and the truth 
always is abused. 

"You have done a good thing. Hearts will gain courage 
for the fight against wrong when they see success has its re- 
wards in this life and on this planet, and are not confined to the 
attainment of bliss in some more or less fanciful future which 
men call heaven. 

"If I were rich enough, I would like to print and distribute 
more copies of your article than the Anti-Tract Society pub- 
lished pages. 

"Very respectfully yours, 


In 1 89 1 Professor Turner published "The Only Thing in 
All the World," basing his title upon Professor Drummond's 
discourse on "The Greatest Thing in the World," giving the 
emotive side of Christ's gospel, while Professor Turner con- 
tinues the subject of Christ's gospel on its logical side — ^the 
central idea being that Christ came into the world and died, 
not instead of or in any possible way as an atonement for men, 
but for their good, as a teacher of eternal truth, whose teach- 
ing was emphasized, for all time, by the tragedy of his life 
and death. 



T\>T Y father had some very interesting views on spiritualism 
and mental telepathy, which were founded upon personal 
experiences so remarkable that I feel they ought to be pre- 
served. In this chapter, therefore, I have put down his opin- 
ions and experiences as he many times expressed them to me. 

"I was always a firm believer," he said, "in what is now 
known as mental telegraphy, the science of which has never 
been understood, much less written. Spiritualism is based 
upon this unknown science, but oftentimes used to deceive and 
defraud. Many of my best friends were spiritualists, and many 
discussions we held upon the subject. I often attended meet- 
ings with them, and, as was my custom, never spoke slightingly 
of any one's convictions, and especially their religious belief; 
yet I never assented to this belief. The last meeting that I 
attended, when I was old and blind, was at the home of a 
friend, Mr. Eben Peck, whose sister had long been a medium 
in Jacksonville. 

"Maude Lome, then the most celebrated of mediums in this 
country, had consented to stop here, on her way from Cali- 
fornia to New York, and give a seance. The many friends 
were assembled and sitting in a circle in total darkness. All 
were required to sing — to join with the heavenly voices of 
father, husband, child, or friend who had been called home. 
I did not sing, and, when remonstrated with, said I never sang 
in my life, and could not sing a note. Then it was announced 
that all who could not sing should hum. I again demurred, 
and, after a good deal of discussion, I, on account of my blind- 
ness and age, was permitted to remain silent. I became con- 
vinced that Maude Lomie was the spirit in the centre of the 
circle, and that she had a small music-box, such as my grand- 



children played with, which was playing the same airs that 
were being sung by the company, and that she darted hither 
and thither, waving it above the heads of the seated guests. 
The last time it came near me, I made a grab and snatched it 
from her hand. I put it in my coat pocket, intending to lay it 
down somewhere when the opportunity offered, but forgot it 
and brought it home. Soon the singing ceased, and it was an- 
nounced that the spirits had departed because some unfriendly 
influence was present. Great was the astonishment and dis- 
appointment. What or who could it be? Many were grieved 
— one especially, a young lady, who had heard the voice of 
her father singing as distinctly as she had ever heard it when, 
a little child, she had been sung to sleep in her father's arms. 
Many had been enjoying the voice of a noted singer, Mr. Josiah 
Day, who had recently been called home. With sad hearts 
the company dispersed. The next morning I took the' music- 
box back and gave it to the hostess, telling her I had found 
it in my pocket and thought it must belong to some of her 

"At the time my buildings were set on fire and burned, in 
October, 1853, I was in Springfield. A clairvoyant was at the 
hotel, and some of my friends urged me to consult her. It 
was not necessary, for I knew perfectly well who had insti- 
gated the crime, if they did not do it with their own hands. 
It was before the days of daily papers and Associated Press 
despatches, so, outside of the parties interested, the matter was 
not known. When I entered the room and asked her to tell 
me something of my past and future life, she closed her eyes 
and exclaimed: 

" 'I see a man setting fire to the comer of a large building, 
the wind blowing hard from that direction. I see a big fire — 
two large buildings and a long shed connecting them in flames. 
I hear the cry of animals tortured by the flames. I see wagons, 
carriages, cultivators, and implements, machines new to me 
burning. I see many people running. I see a mother gather 


her little children around her ; and as you go out of this room 
you will meet the man who set your buildings on fire coming 
up the stairs.' 

"I thought some one had told her about it ; but when I started 
down the stairs, and saw the man who I believed had done it — 
or had hired it done — start to come up, look up, and, upon 
seeing me, turn very red in the face and then turn and run 
down the stairs rather than face me, I wondered if it could be 
that she had unusual powers. 

"In August, 1856, I was invited to deliver an address in 
Detroit, Michigan. My wife and little children were nervous 
about my leaving home, especially since the burning of my 
buildings and the bitter fight that had attended the building 
and organizing of the Hospital for the Insane. I had refused 
many invitations to lecture, but this one I was anxious to ac- 
cept; so, promising to return immediately after the lecture, I 
left them, with much anxiety and many regrets. In those days 
the trip would take a week at least. After the lecture I rushed 
to the depot. Two trains were standing on the track, one facing 
east and the other facing west. Thoroughly despising myself, 
I took the one that faced east. With the tearful faces of my 
wife and children ever before me, I persisted in going directly 
away from my home, to which I had promised to return as 
quickly as possible. When I entered my childhood's home, in 
northern Massachusetts, and heard my father's voice from his 
bedroom moaning, 'If I could only see Jonathan before I die ! 
If I could only see Jonathan before I die !' and found my mother 
and sisters gathered around my father, who was propped up 
in bed, sick unto death, and longing for me — I came to believe 
in mental telegraphy." 



/^NE day in August, 1862, a few weeks after the passage 
of the University Bill, while Professor Turner was work- 
ing in his hedge-plant nursery, a telegram came to him from 
Washington: "Charles very sick, typhoid fever. Come im- 
mediately." Signed, "George Bibb." His son Charles, then 
a student at Illinois College, had enlisted in the Sixty-eighth 
Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, under a three months' call, 
in Captain John W. King's company of students, and had been 
sent to Washington, D. C. 

Professor Turner hurried to the house, and, handing the 
telegram to his wife, said: "I am going. I have only time 
to catch the train. Good-by." And, without stopping for bag- 
gage or even to wash his hands, he ran all the way to the depot, 
and just caught the last car as the train pulled out. It was 
fortunate that he had acted so quickly, for that was the last 
train through for several weeks, owing to the Confederates' 
raid through Maryland and Pennsylvania. He reached Wash- 
ington just in time, for his boy had been laid aside with the 
dead and dying. That morning the doctor had said to the 
nurse: "Poor boy! Give him plenty of brandy and let him 
go off easy." But the soldier, conscious for the first time in 
days, heard, and determined that he would not touch the brandy 
if he could help it. If he had to die, he would die conscious. 
He was lying as if dead, when his father entered and laid his 
hand on his forehead. He opened his eyes, and, with a feeble 
cry, "Father ! father ! I'll get well, now that you have come !" 
he dozed off into a peaceful sleep. When he awoke the crisis 
was past, though a very long and tedious convalescence was 
before him. For weeks he had been delirious. He would 
crawl out of bed at all hours, when he appeared too weak even 



to move, and, crying out, "I'm going home," would escape 
from the ward. 

Extracts from Professor Turner's letters home at this time 
relate some of his experiences during his stay in Washington : 

"Stone Hospital, Washington, D. C, 

"September 2, 1862. 
"My dear Wife and Children: 

"It is after three o'clock, and I have not eaten anything since 
six this morning, and have been constantly on the tramp over 
the hot pavements. I don't believe I have slept six hours since 
I left home. Charley ! Charley ! was in my mind all the time, 
and to-day I confidently expected he would be dead before I 
should see him ; but I can not, and will not try, to express my 
gratitude to Almighty God and the kind friends He has raised 
up around him, for the unexpectedly comfortable condition in 
which I find him. 

"We ought to thank God and bless His holy name for His 
signal goodness to us. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner. 

"P. S. At the depot I could find no omnibus or carriages, 
as they are all off the street to make room for the immense 
throng of army-wagons, cavalry, and infantry, which, as se- 
cretly as possible, are passing up to the rear of the rebels in 
Maryland. That is, so I judge. Not a word of it is allowed 
to be printed in the papers. But what I see I can see without 
a newspaper. I hope they will nab them. The country gen- 
erally has no idea of what an enormous force we now have 
about Washington ; nor is it best they should. General Bum- 
side left the grounds this morning with an enormous force, 
and his cavalry is still pouring down the hills, toward the north- 
west, I presume, to cut off the retreat of the rebels, who, some 
forty thousand strong, have crossed over into Maryland, as 
rumor says. I hope they will take them now, for, if they do 


not, I see not how Washington can be defended, as it has no 
defenses on the north but living men. If the rebels shoot up 
toward Harrisburg or Baltimore, they will be able to do much 
damage before our men can overtake them. True, it may all 
be a false alarm, and most of the people are persuaded it is so ; 
but the army seems to be upon a sudden and desperate move, 
for some reason. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Stone Hospital, Washington, D. C. 

"Tuesday, September 9, 1862. 
"My dear Wife: 

"Charlie is about the same. Troops still pour in and out, 
and more than fifty buildings right around here are full of 
sick and wounded, besides some in tents and in other parts of 
the city; and the multitudes sent away testify of the horrors 
of war. I can give you no idea of what I see and hear here. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Stone Hospital, 17th Street, Washington, D. C. 

"September 12, 1862, Friday evening. 
"My dear Wife: 

"I have written you every day and telegraphed you once 
since I came. Charley continues to improve. 

"Fitz-John Porter's division of some thirty thousand men 
passed the hospital to-day to reinforce McClellan, near Fred- 
erick, where a battle is already expected, some ten or twelve 
miles more or less north of town. All the hospitals have been 
cleared of wounded soldiers who could be moved to make room 
for others from the expected battles near by. 

"I met some twenty-five or thirty wagons full of shot and 
wounded in all sorts of ways going to Oakes Hospital, down 
the Potomac, to-day. So common is the marching of troops 


that the passing of Porter's thirty thousand, which filled the 
streets full for some miles, did not excite a passing remark; 
and I should not have seen them if I had not happened to go 
downstairs, as my room is on the other side of the street. Even 
the little children playing on the porch took no notice of them, 
and no one in the house either knew or cared where they were 
going. I went out and learned of the soldiers themselves. 
They're a fine body of men; but I have not the least faith in 
their commander. This is no place, I assure you, to get con- 
fidence in the generals that lead in this war. My hope is, God 
may deliver us. Charley sends love to all. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 

"Washington, Stone Hospital. 
"September 19, 1862. 
"My dear Wife: 

"1 have just received the first line and the four drafts all 
right from you. I am not surprised that you failed to get 
the despatch and the first letter I wrote you within one hour 
after I succeeded in finding Charley. I thought perhaps they 
had been sent by the Baltimore road, and that the rebels had 
intercepted them; but there was no help for it. I could only 
write you again and again, which I did at first every day and 
since every other day, hoping some of my letters would reach 
and relieve you, and it is now a great relief to me to know that 
such has been the case. 

"Now that Charley is convalescent I find some relief from 
the harrowing scenes in the hospital by visiting various places 
of interest in the city, especially the contraband camp. I had 
a long talk with the President at the White House yesterday. 
He is confined to his room with a lame ankle. He told me 
he intended to issue a Proclamation of Emancipation, which 
he said had been prepared for weeks, awaiting the winning of 
a Union victory. 


"With sly humor, he also told of the visit of a delegation 
who claimed to have a message from God that the war would 
not be successful without the freeing of negroes ; to whom he- 
replied: 'Is it not a little strange that the Lord should tell 
this to you, who have so little to do with it, and not tell it to. 
me, who has a great deal to do with it ?' And the sly old coon 
at that very moment had the proclamation in his breast coat 
pocket ! 

"But I will write you about the contraband camp. There 
is as much real difference between the actual intelligence and 
civilization of these contraband negroes and our negroes in 
Jacksonville as there is between our negroes and our first-class, 
citizens. The facts in the case at once amaze and appall me. 
The best of them are not even respectable grown-up children. 
They seem really alive to nothing but music and mere animal 
enjoyment. An armed guard, sword in hand, night and day 
is kept constantly around the camp. No military camp here 
is guarded with half the same rigor. At first I happened to 
walk in on the Sabbath day, by invitation of my host, while 
they were engaged in their religious meeting. I was at once- 
noticed and arrested, my business, name, etc., required. When 
this was given, I was very politely introduced to the superin- 
tendent, who went with me the next day through the camp. 
Their worship, when left to themselves, is as truly heathen,, 
both in spirit and in form, as ever it was in Africa. 

"I did not hear in that meeting a single prayer or hymn or 
exhortation of any sort, in our sense of the term, nor anything 
that in the remotest degree resembled it; nor did I hear one 
single intelligible, coherent idea of any sort uttered by leader 
or people, though I understood most of their words. They 
nearly all belong to the church ; all deem themselves pious, and 
in the sight of God may be so; but it surely is not what we 
call Christian piety. Their religious devotions, instead of hav- 
ing any tendency whatever to check their licentiousness, are in 
fact as well adapted, whether intentionally so or not, to incite 


their lust as were the ancient orgies of Pan or Venus. Many of 
them are totally untrustworthy, even in the matter of their 
own most vital personal interests. 

"I have since attended religious meetings of these contra- 
bands, and once addressed them myself on colonization. All the 
ringing of bells and the vociferous commands of the superin- 
tendent can not get them together ; but the moment some few of 
their old leaders strike up one of their songs you will see them, 
big and little, male and female, at once trot up from all parts 
of the camp and join in. One song at least, therefore, is as 
indispensable to a negro meeting as an order to charge is to 
a battalion of cavalry. The day they were addressed by white 
preachers, they sat still and were decorous in the extreme. But 
the moment they were to themselves, they rushed into some 
form of their own bush meetings; and, however nonsensical 
their words, their gestures and tones were always musical, 
plaintive, and eloquent. Their pantomimic song, 'Gk) and say 
unto Pharaoh, Let my people go,' with slight revisions in its 
words would be one of the most thrilling and dramatic things 
in the English language. 

"Mr. Palmer, with whom I board, a civil officer of the city, 
a most violent pro-slavery man, begged me to go and hear 
them, and said he would rather hear it, as an amusement, than 
all the theatrical performances in the city. But the evening 
I talked to them about their home under the equator, they sat 
perfectly still; and as soon as I was through, they made no 
effort even to sing, but went at once to their quarters, saying 
one to another, 'I will go ; I will go.' 

"I tried, while speaking, many times to get them to express 
their own minds by asking them questions which I was sure 
they did know, and tried to have them answer me to keep their 
attention and interest ; but, from a seeming bashfulness, I could 
get no response, only a silent and deferential nod of assent 
from some of their leaders. At last this question was asked : 
'Do you know old John Brown?' 'Yes, yes, Massa; we all 


know him.' It was really affecting. No question touching 
their own vital personal interest of themselves and their chil- 
dren could break through their rigorous sense of deference to 
a white speaker whom they considered their friend; but old 
John Brown was quite too much for them. They could not 
remain silent under the resistless spell of that name.* 

"I now consider Charley's case entirely safe. 

"I spent the evening with President Lincoln at his country 
seat, three miles out of town, last night. Colonel Chester of 
Chicagof went out with me. General Hunter, from the South, 
and his wife were also there. He is a plain, sensible man, no 
contemptible upstart with epaulets, and a man, I think, of tol- 
erable abilities. Mr. Lincoln took General Hunter and Mr. 
Chester and myself out into the back parlor away from the 
ladies, and we had a most interesting talk about the war. 

"I can not write you what I heiard last night at the Presi- 
dent's, but will tell you when I see you, as I have this morning 
taken notes of it all and asked Colonel Chester to do the same, 
so that I might be sure to be accurate. The facts are more 
and more overwhelming. 

"I am already virtually the colonel of a regiment of cavalry 
left here. It happened in this way. Their colonel went a week 
ago with a brigade to Maryland, and was killed. Their chap- 
lain went up to bury him. Their hospital of sick men is in this 
house. I became interested in them; went to the town and 
got them cots, sheets, shirts, food and jellies, wine, etc., which 

*We are prone to forget the marvelous progress these people have made 
since the days of slavery, simply because we wish to forget. No people in 
the history of the world ever made such rapid advance from ignorance 
and superstition. Even the children of Israel were obliged to wander forty 
years in the wilderness before they were deemed worthy to enter the 
promised land of freedom. No cloud by day nor pillar of fire by night 
have guided our freed negro slaves through their wilderness, and no 
miraculous showers have fed them. To-day one of their number is 
shining in the halls of royalty with kings and queens for his companions, 
and many others are holding positions of honor and trust. 

tColonel Augustin Chester was one of the earliest residents of Kanka- 
kee, Illinois, where, about 1853, he built the first house and founded the 
first paper (the Kankakee Gazette). At that time he resided in Washing- 
ton, D. C, and was an attorney practising before the Supreme Court. 


they needed. I took the poor fellows off the bare floor and 
made them comfortable, and, as they had no surgeon, I got our 
Stone Hospital surgeon to go over to them. For these slight 
acts of kindness, everything they have — their houses, teams, 
persons — are as fully at my command as though I owned them 
all. The under officers left in charge anticipate my smallest 
wishes. It affects me even to tears to see some of these rough 
and sometimes violent and profane men so easily and deeply 
moved to gratitude for even the slightest acts from an entire 
stranger. Their under officers are in the field or dead, while 
here they were a drunken, worthless set — would even take the 
brandy away from the sick in the hospitals and get drunk on 
it themselves; and everywhere treated them more like dogs 
than men, even after all their deadly experience in the Chicka- 
hominy swamps. 

"Colonel Chester has been here for some time, and, like me, 
has a son in the army. He confides all his thoughts to me, 
and I do mine to him. He has introduced me to many of his 
old friends and new acquaintances. Yesterday, when we went 
to the patent office, I noticed the men looked startled. After- 
ward they said I looked so much like old John Brown, they 
thought, when I came in the door, his ghost had come up from 
Harper's Ferry. 

"Apropos, Lincoln, the other day, alluded to Harper's Ferry 
while I was in his room, and showed me one of McClellan's 
private despatches to him which came in while, the battle was 
still raging. When he ceased speaking, I said to him, 'Don't 
you think, Mr. Lincoln, old John Brown's blood is getting 
pretty well washed out of Harper's Ferry?' His look and an- 
swer were eminently characteristic and significant. It was too 
good to lose. 

"He also told me his only instruction in the English lan- 
guage had been from me, through the Green brothers of Tellula, 
Illinois, while they were students of Illinois College and he was 
a hired hand working for their mother in the harvest-fields. 


"I have thus filled my letter with the gossip about myself 
because I wanted to write something to you ; but those things 
I feel most deeply about I cannot write. You will all be hum- 
bugged enough by the newspapers. You cannot believe on 
their authority that there is any such place as Maryland or 
Washington City ; or that there are either battles or rebellions, 
much less great victories. But if they tell you there is a con- 
stant and dreadful game going on here all the time, you may 
believe it, for it is so. I spent evening before last with Pro- 
fessor Ferguson, professor at the National Astronomical Con- 
servatory, and had a most pleasant time talking over my 
heresies in natural science. 

"Yours truly, 

"J. B. Turner." 
"Dear Wife: 

"Colonel Chester and I walk out, in the evenings, three or 
four miles to Lincoln's summer home, and watch for him as 
he comes riding out on horseback or in his carriage, and then 
spend a delightful evening with him. Sometimes he is detained 
and cannot come. In talking with our friends from Illinois, it 
was decided that Colonel Chester and I ought to tell Mr. Lin- 
coln what we had seen and heard in the city, and that we were 
convinced that there was a great conspiracy among the officers 
in command, more threatening to the Union than all the rebel 
soldiers in Southern camps. We feared he, in the center of all 
this whirl and turmoil, surrounded by such a vast multitude 
of people and care, could not see and realize as could an out- 
sider, free to go and come. 

"To our amazement, he not only assented to what we 
had to say, but went on to tell facts far beyond anything we 
had even dreamed of, much less seen or heard. When we 
criticized General McClellan, and said we did not believe him 
to be incompetent, but a traitor, Mr. Lincoln paced back and 
forth across the room, his hands behind his back, and in tones 
of deepest anguish replied : 'I know it — I know it ! But show 


me the man; show me the man. I am searching the country- 
over. Show him to me; show me the man.' 

"Colonel Chester had spoken of a brigade of stragglers. Mr. 
Lincoln interrupted him by saying : 'It would be more proper to 
say that McClellan's whole army is an army of stragglers.' 
And then, in the presence of General Hunter, who sat by and 
assented, he went on to state in the most bold and unequivocal 
terms, as though he desired the whole world to know it, that 
'In McClellan's army on the peninsula he reported 91,000 men 
fit for duty, and 55,000 men, or more than one third of his 
whole army, unfit for duty; that for all the corps ordered un- 
der Fitz-John Porter at the second battle at Manassas the 
United States had actually to pay for 200,000 soldiers, and 
Porter should have had 140,000 fit for duty, but, instead of 
that, all he could muster in his report was 60,000 on hand out 
of the 200,000. The rest were straggling behind in the forts, 
weeds, or hospitals.' The provost-marshal reported three hun- 
dred men found murdered in. the single town of Alexandria 
during the passage of McClellan's army, though there was a 
strong guard of Illinois volunteers stationed, night and day, 
at every comer of every street, showing not only that his army 
was undisciplined, but had become utterly frantic and infuri- 
ated. The causes of this last I will not stop to discuss, though 
they are interesting and sufficiently apparent. 

"Said the President, further : 'We have got the best clothed, 
the best equipped, and the best paid and the best cared for, 
and the worst disciplined army the world ever saw. It takes 
it the longest time to start, and the slowest after it is started.' 

"I quote his exact words, taken down at the time both by 
myself and Colonel Chester. As he was so bold and frank, 
I ventured to say to him that 'the Army of Maryland was 
■beaten in fact before it went out of the city, for I saw it with 
my own eyes, and, though I pretended to know nothing about 
military affairs, if he or his generals or any other set of men 
should strap up and overclothe and overload a set of men for 


our Illinois harvest-fields, for even a single week, as these 
generals compelled their soldiers to march in the hot, dusty- 
streets through whole summer campaigns, I, for one, would 
turn out and help hang them.' 

"The President then added that 'It took McClellan's corps 
five days to go forty miles, while in urgent pursuit of an active 
enemy; and Porter's corps had been ordered two whole days 
before it began to start, and then would not have started if 
Halleck had not told Porter that he would order his arrest 
if he were not of? in two hours. And all this when there was 
an invading foe, holding in triumph Frederick and other towns 
in Maryland, forty miles distant, with which our army was- 
even then fighting.' And still the confounded fool, or traitor,, 
managed, after all this, to take his whole army, baggage and 
all, away down to the Baltimore depot, and then march them 
back to the right street again, with all their baggage in the 
hot sun, and it was two o'clock before he fairly got out of 
town, and five whole long days before he got to Frederick, 
forty miles distant. Then McClellan posted the scramp as 
a reserve and left such men as Reno and Mansfield and Hooker 
to make his charges for him, and two of them perished in the 
contest. And so it seems to go all the time. 

"The President also said that 'McClellan took sixty baggage- 
wagons for his own use, though any one could see in the patent 
office that the whole of General Washington's camp furniture, 
medicine-chest and all, could be carried on a strong man's 
back, and with ease in any light wheelbarrow. Thus we lost 
the whole campaign in Maryland because our army could not 
be got up there until the enemy had had time to collect their 
plunder and choose the position of their rear-guard, where 
we fought them at immense disadvantage, and no gain except 
to hurry them out of the State a little sooner than they other- 
wise would have gone, instead of bagging or destroying them 
as we should have done.' 

"One cannot be in Washington without knowing that there 


is the most utter lack of all discipline, the most open and 
shameless system of knavery and thievery, going on all the 
time and reduced to a regular system in almost every depart- 
ment of the service. For example, oats, corn, hay, and so 
forth fall short of their marked weight almost habitually from 
twenty per cent, to thirty per cent, over and above all their de- 
fects in quality. More than three square miles of James River 
was completely covered with hay, bought and paid for by the 
government, and left uncovered to spoil and be thrown over- 
board into the river. Many boat-loads of soldiers' knapsacks, 
full of their clothing and little stores, delivered to the com- 
missary for safe-keeping when they went up the peninsula, 
and to be returned to them, were left in the hold of the boat 
until they all rotted and were thrown otit as so much manure. 
All this while the men went without their clothing and the 
horses were literally starving for hay. Almost all of those 
that lived were totally unfit for service. New ones had to be 
bought, and the cavalry troops had to lie around Washington 
and wait for their horses while the battles were being fought 
in Maryland. In the harbor of the city itself there are ships 
now lying, at seventeen hundred dollars per day, and have 
been for months, with their cargoes undischarged. 

"I was quite surprised to learn that Mr. Lincoln was per- 
fectly aware of this systematic knavery, but he said : 'It can- 
not be helped. So far has this thing gone that it is scarcely 
possible for an honest man to get any contract by public bid 
under the government, in those departments where it is pos- 
sible to steal ; for these thieves will at once bid it down below 
actual first cost, and rely upon cheating and stealing for the 
whole of their profits.' " 

Many years afterward, when Professor Turner was ninety 
years of age, in speaking of the notes that he and Colonel 
Chester so carefully wrote down while in Washington that 
evening, he said : 


"It was during one of the darkest periods in the sedond 
year of the war, when, after McClellan's long delay at Manas- 
sas, he had been defeated in his attempt to reach Richmond 
by the way of the Chickahominy, and the rebels, having crossed 
the Potomac, were threatening Washington itself. Everything 
was most doleful and discouraging. The whole city and 
country were sunk in the depths of gloom, if not in despair. 
All the public buildings, churches, and schoolhouses, and all 
the confiscated private dwellings were filled to overflowing with 
sick and wounded soldiers, and still, four miles out, where I 
found my son, were rows upon rows of sick and wounded 
as thick as they could lie on each side of the walk, on 
longe stretches of tent-cloth. The city itself was full enough 
of rebels and spies to report everything they saw and 

"One night, as we were looking for the approach of Mr. 
Lincoln on horseback or in his carriage, we saw in the dis- 
tance a nice accoutered troop of cavalry riding on each side 
of the road in double file, and wondered what it meant. As 
the party came nearer, we discovered President Lincoln and 
General David Hunter, the latter being in command of the 
troops, riding between the lines, which appeared to constitute 
an escort. 

"We said to Mr. Lincoln, 'We are glad you are learning 
to take care of yourself.' 'Yes,' he replied. 'My friend here, 
Gefieral Hunter, and Secretary Stanton make such a fuss about 
my going without an escort that I have yielded to their en- 
treaties.' After salutation, the troops were placed in charge 
of a subordinate officer, and General Hunter and ourselves 
were invited into Mr. Lincoln's parlor. 

"I had known of Mr. Lincoln ever since, as a hired man or 
boy, he was employed to gather Mrs. Green's crop in Old 
Salem, before he had ever been in a law office. I had heard him 
make his most magnificent stump speeches, and had voted for 
him every time I could get a chance; I had been one of the 


first to assure him of the certainty of his nomination for the 
Presidency, and the first to warn him of his extreme danger 
after his election; but I confess that Abraham Lincoln him- 
self never had stood out before me in such grand, overwhelm- 
ing proportions as during that brief midnight interview. His. 
almost boundless insight, foresight, and capacity, his matchless 
prudence, justice, and humanity toward all and over all with 
whom he came in contact, appeared in complete equilibrium 
in that one grand head of our warring and discordant Repub- 
lic; the one who seemed to foresee and await the end in the 
only way it ' could be brought about with entire safety to the 
nation. In that darkest hour Colonel Chester and myself were 
entirely willing to trust the interests of the Republic wholly 
in his hands. 

"Now, mark the final issue of that meeting and all its ac- 
companiments, as they have since become known, though not 
even thought of by Colonel Chester or myself at the time. 
More than thirty years after this meeting, I first learned, from 
the second Boston edition of the trial of Lincoln's murderers, 
and Father Chiniquy's book, 'Fifty Years in the Church of 
Rome,' that Booth and his comrades were, at the very time 
of the passing of this escort, hidden in a little thicket which 
Lincoln was compelled to pass on the road to his summer 
home (now the Soldier's Home). Had the guard been ap- 
pointed one night later. Booth would have accomplished his 
murderous scheme three years earlier than he did. As it was, 
he went back to his rebel friends in the city, cursing his luck. 
Father Chiniquy often remonstrated with Lincoln for not pro- 
viding himself with a suitable escort; but Lincoln's reply was 
always, in substance : 'We must all be prepared to die for the 
Republic' It was as impossible for him to discharge his duty 
without exposure as it was for any private soldier to perform 
his free from danger." 

In a letter to Professor Turner from Colonel Chester, un- 
der date of January 28, 1896, written by his wife, when the 


Colonel was eighty years old and nearly blind, Colonel Chester 

"Yes, I do know Booth was lying in ambush in those bushes, 
having seen the article to which you refer. I shall always re- 
member that twilight visit to our true friend, Abraham Lin- 
coln, at the Soldiers' Home. How promptly he responded, 
after a moment's thought, to our errand! And how, when 
our errand was finished and we rose to leave, in that pleading 
voice he earnestly implored us: 'Don't go. Don't go. I am 
lonesome and want some one to talk with.' We resumed our 
seats, and soon after General Hunter came in; after that a 
number of others — a very interesting evening. Little were 
we aware of that conclave of bloodthirsty men outside. Then 
our walk to the city under the shade of forest trees, where 
wretches were plotting murder. I cannot at present enlarge 
upon my memory of that evening; I cannot forget." 



T N 1879 Professor Turner's first great sorrow came to him. 
■■• The mother, from whom was all physical comfort as well 
as loving companionship and counsel, was suddenly stricken 
and peacefully crossed to the shining shore. The husband and 
the youngest son, Frederick Clifford, were left alone; and 
dreary work it was, trying to reorganize the home without 
the wife and mother. 

A few years later Fred married Elizabeth Alexander, and 
once more the old home was full of sunshine; and when, in 
1888, a baby girl was born, Grandfather's cup of bliss was 
full to overflowing. A tender sympathy and strong chord of 
love bound the two together. He never wearied of her baby 
prattle, and when she was old enough to learn to read. Grandpa 
enjoyed with his little companion the wonderful stories of 
dog, cat, and fairy. 

On December 18, 1880, Rhodolphus, Professor Turner's 
first-born, died, as had his mother, quickly and painlessly. A 
second son, William, died in September, 1886. But the great 
unexpected sorrow came in February, 1896. Fred, the main- 
stay of his old age, his youngest and his dearest, upon whom 
he had depended in his old age and blindness, died. Sorrow 
and bitter disappointment still awaited him. Fred's wife and 
child went to a sister for a home. My father's grief at giving 
up his little companion was pitiful to see. His children and 
grandchildren gathered around him, friends and neighbors all 
striving to comfort and to cheer. 

Soon after this his daughter and her family came and made 
their home with him. After her mother's death, Fred's daugh- 
ter, the little "companion," returned, and once again the old 
house was full to overflowing. The jokes and merry pranks 



of the young people again filled the house with laughter. The 
grandsons, named for his own sons, came and went at the 
ring of the college bell; the daily college life was brought 
near again. 

Professor Turner's one long-continued and unabated literary 
pleasure was in "The Club." In i860 Dr. David Hamilton, 
pastor of Westminster, and Professor William D. Sanders 
organized The Club, the first in the town, if not in the State. 
It was limited to twenty members, and was made up of lit- 
erary, professional, and brainy men. 

They met on alternate Monday evenings, at the home of 
the host, for supper, the literary program coming afterward. 
This was conducted by an appointed leader, each member 
taking his turn, who selected his own subject. After the reading 
of the paper, each member was expected to take part in the 
discussion that followed. 

Every question of state, church, literature, or politics, home 
or foreign, was most ably presented and most, warmly dis- 
cussed: science, metaphysics — every subject that ever was 
presented to the human mind — making Jacksonville, as one 
pastor said, "a paradise for ministers." 

The success and promise of each and all of his grandchildren 
was a great comfort. He took great pleasure in visiting "the 
farm," which he had given to his sons John and William, 
eleven hundred acres near Butler, Illinois, where the most de- 
licious fruits and melons in their season were to be found, 
and where there were horses, sheep, and fine droves of Here- 
ford cattle in the pastures. 

But finest of all the products of the farm was the large 
family of children. John had two, and William eleven — 
sturdy, good-natured, industrious, and studious, always a com- 
fort and never a care. 

My father liked to report what the neighbors said; how 
they watched for the two-horse spring-wagon, full of boys 
and girls, always merry, punctual, and polite, as they drove 


the two and one half miles back and forth to school. He en- 
joyed a joke, and all the more if upon himself. When near- 
ing his eighty-fourth birthday, he took a trip with his son 
Howard, his daughter, and her daughter to the Yellowstone 
Park; and although his eyesight was so poor that at times 
he could hardly distinguish light from shade, he learned more, 
with the aid of his finger-tips, of its geological and physical 
history than did most of those who could see, and appreciated 
more keenly the peculiar grandeur and weird beauty of canon, 
geyser, and pool. 

While the party was stopping at the Canon Hotel, near the 
falls, there was a great deal of excitement over the forest fires, 
which were very near and very dangerous. Telephones rang 
constantly, and anxiety and fear were in evidence everywhere, 
in spite of the efforts of the proprietor and employees of the 
hotel to conceal it. Hoping that Professor Turner would not 
hear or notice this, his son Howard took him to his room, 
away from the noise and confusion, and, telling him that he 
wanted to make some arrangements for the morning, left him 
to go to bed. At midnight more Ropeful news came ; the wind 
had changed and the danger was lessened. The son returned 
to his father's room. What was his surprise to find him fully 
dressed and sitting on the side of his bed. "I heard the ring- 
ing of and the talking over the telephones," he said, "and 
thought, as I am so slow, I had better not undress, but be ready 
to start if necessary." 

Howard saw how anxious he must have been, all alone, blind 
and helpless; but he was an inveterate joker, and liked best 
of all to get "one" on his father. He began to laugh, and an- 
swered : "The devil has been after you for a great many years. 
He has rejoiced over your heterodoxy and peculiar religious 
views. Now that he thinks he has cornered you, with the 
canon one mile deep on one side and the forest fires on the 
other, he is sure he has got you this time." His father laughed 
and begarf to undress, and was soon peacefully sleeping. 


Professor Turner's brother-in-law, Mr. John Olmstead, a 
banker and manufacturer of Springfield, Massachusetts, was 
from early manhood one of his most congenial friends. He 
often came out to visit him. At the last visit Mr. Olmstead 

"You are looking fine. I must have a photograph of you. 
This afternoon we will go to the photographer's." 

While Mr. Olmstead was downtown in the morning, the 
daughter, in the pride of her woman's heart, prepared her 
father for the coming visit to the artist's gallery. She trimmed 
the straggly beard, cut the soft gray hair, and clipped close 
the shaggy eyebrows, brushed and dressed him until he looked 
like a tailor's mannikin. The surprise and disappointment 
depicted on her uncle's face when he returned she will never 
forget. She had destroyed all traces of that rugged, vigorous 
old age which he had expressed in the words, "looking so 

My father was very fond of nature in all its forms. Flowers, 
fruit, or tree, vine, grain, or grass — all were of equal beauty 
and interest. Bird, insect, or animal he studied, and knew 
them for themselves, and for their value or danger to man- 
kind. The bee, as long as he had his sight, was the object of 
his greatest care and pleasure. He was one of the first in 
Illinois to import an Italian queen bee. The avenue of her 
hives in the back yard was his recreation-ground. Nothing 
made him more indignant than to hear the complaints that 
the bees were destroying the fruit. Over and over again he 
would explain how it was utterly impossible for a bee to bite 
anything even so soft and thin as a ripe peach or a grapeskin. 
They could only suck the juice after the skin had been broken 
by a bird or an insect. 

His son William, when a boy at home, brought from their 
nest in the woods, before their eyes were opened, two gray 
squirrels, which proved most interesting pets. They were 
never kept in a cage, but were given the freedom of the place, 


going away every fall and returning every spring for several 
years. They would come from the top of the highest trees, 
at a call and oftentimes without a call, alighting on a shoulder 
or head, and then scrambling for a pocket where nuts were 
to be found, or begging for them if they were not. Often, 
when at a, neighbor's or downtown on business. Professor 
Turner would find one fast asleep in his coat pocket. 

In later years his favorite pet, and the favorite of his "little 
companion," was the dog, who had loyally followed the vicis- 
situdes of the Carriel family since a tiny pup, when Howard 
Carriel had traded a toy watch for him, and had brought him 
home from school in his jacket pocket. Pup was his name to 
the last, when old age and pain made life miserable, and Fred 
Carriel sadly chloroformed the playmate who had loved him 

For many years Professor Turner employed an amanuensis, 
first college students at intervals, later his granddaughter, Ella 
Carriel, and his grandson Arthur, for short periods. But the 
one amanuensis who, year in and year out, was the greatest 
treasure, who always came bright and happy, full of life and 
energy, ready for any conflict with Greek letters or Greek 
verbs, whose voice was sweet and gentle as any loving daugh- 
ter's, and who read to him to the last day of his life, was Miss 
Georgia L. Osborne. 

One cold, stormy night, when the air was full of sleet, in 
those days of bottomless mud before the streets were paved. 
Professor Turner had an engagement to speak at Strawn's 
Opera House. His wife tried to persuade him not to go. "It 
was dangerous for one of his age to attempt it ; besides, there 
would be no one there to hear him." But he was not to be 
persuaded. When he had nearly reached home, at midnight, 
he slipped and fell, striking his forehead on the icy walk, so 
that he was stunned. It was several minutes before he could 
gather himself up and proceed. The next morning, to his 
surprise and delight, he found that the deafness that had been 


growing upon him, and that had caused him so much anxiety, 
had entirely disappeared; and it never returned. 

A few years later, a neighbor, Mr. William Russel, while 
calling, referred regretfully to his terrible deafness. Professor 
Turner said: "I can give you an infallible remedy. Have 
some one take you by your heels and snap your head on the 
stone walk. It's a sure cure." 

Several years after that, the neighbor came in and exclaimed : 

"I have tried your remedy, and it is, as you said, a sure 
cure. As I was driving in my two-wheeled buggy last week, 
one wheel struck a hole in the street pavement, and I was 
thrown out backwards, landing on my head. I was picked up 
and carried into a doctor's office, but soon recovered con- 
sciousness, and ever since I can hear perfectly." Then the 
house rang with the laughter of the two old men. 

When Professor Turner was eighty-nine years of age he 
lost his appetite, and became so weakened in health and strength 
that his family were very anxious about him. His family 
physician and lifelong friend. Dr. Hiram K. Jones, told his 
youngest son, Fred, that his father needed a tonic and he had 
better get him a case of beer. So this was bought and brought 
home; but, to Fred's surprise, his father positively refused to 
touch it, saying: "All my life I have struggled against the 
temptation to drink ; and now, at this late day, I will not begin 
muddling my brain." The beer was returned, and he recov- 
ered without it. 

One night in December, 1898, a loud call startled us at mid- 
night. Running quickly down to my father's room, we found 
him quietly sleeping, but could not resist waking him to ask 
why he had called. 

"Why? Did I call? What did it sound like?" he asked. 

"As if you were hurrahing," we replied. 

Then he laughed and gave the following explanation: "I 
dreamed a party of us had been tb an old-fashioned barn- 
raising. After completing our work a wild-turkey shooting- 


match was on the program; and I dreamed that Governor 
Duncan made such a fine shot that I thought he deserved a 
cheer, so I was giving him one." 

Only his friends knew his gentle, cordial, generous spirit, 
and his warm friendship, lasting through life — a friend once, 
a friend forever. They enjoyed his keen wit, quiet humor, 
and quick repartee, though often unable to keep pace or to 
sympathize with his advanced views. He was an athlete in 
physical and intellectual stature and strength, a most original 
genius, with the busiest of brains; a formidable foe in debate, 
giving no quarter and asking none, yet never descending to 
low personalities. The following letter illustrates the lasting 
quality of his friendships: 

"Brooklyn, New York, 
"November 26, 1891. 
"Dear Brother: 

"1 thank you for your book. I reciprocate your affectionate 
words to me 'as an old friend of former years.' We have al- 
ways been sincere friends and never known the shadow of 

"We have not always thought alike, but have always 
respected each other's sincere convictions, and believed 
that we were acting under the law of supreme love to God 
and man. . . . 

"Yours in Christ, 

"Edward Beecher." 

Professor Turner loved young people, and they loved him. 
Many a boy and girl, as well as grown young man and maiden; 
have left their play to talk with Grandpa. There was always 
something cheery, merry, or useful ; something that was pleas- 
ant and good to remember ; something that would return again 
and again in the days that were to come, with the gentle, lov- 
ing look from those beautiful eyes, so expressive even in their 


blindness. All read to him; all told him their interests and 
claimed his advice. But the tenderest tie and sweetest inter- 
course was between Professor Turner and his son-in-law, Dr. 
Carriel. Congenial in habits and thoughts, the bond of sym- 
pathy strengthened with the years. 

Soon after passing his ninety-third birthday, on the evening" 
of January 10, 1899, while his daughter was giving him hiS' 
supper, the call came. He turned his eyes with questioning 
surprise to Dr. Carriel' s face; then quietly closed them, and 
soon fell asleep, fully dressed, in his library, never for one- 
single day having been confined to his bed. 



The first of the Turner family to come to America was John 
Turner, who sailed from London, England, on the Speedwell, 
in May, 1635, he being then nineteen years old. The town of 
Roxbury, which was settled in 1630, but which is now a part of 
the city of Boston, finally became his home. 

The old Turner home, at the corner of Center and Roxbury 
streets, was used for barracks during the Revolutionary War. 

On July 22, 1761, in the second year of the reign of King 
George III., the town of Templeton, Massachusetts, was incorpo- 
rated. Seven years later, in 1768, Edward Turner, the grand- 
father of Jonathan, bought land in this wilderness. He was a 
son of Joseph Turner of Walpole, and grandson of Ebenezer 
Turner of Medfield, near Boston, the line of descent being r 
first, John of Roxbury; second, John of Medfield, born in 165 1 ;. 
third, Ebenezer of Medfield; fourth, Joseph of Walpole; fifth,. 
Edward of Walpole and Templeton; sixth, Asa of Templeton; 
seventh, Jonathan of Templeton, the subject of the present 

The land on which Templeton was founded was known as 
Narragansett Number Six, being a part of the land comprised 
within the seven townships granted by the Great and General 
Court of Massachusetts Bay to the soldiers of the Narragansett 
War. The inhabitants of Templeton were intensely patriotic 
during the War of the Revolution, and were among the first, 
previous to the outbreak of the war, to sustain the attitude of 
the colonies in their controversies with the mother country. The 
town voted not to use any goods subject to duty, and provided 
pay for its soldiers. 

In the archives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Revo- 
lutionary War Service (Vol. XII., page 63) we find the substance 
of the following record: the name of Edward Turner (the 
grandfather of Jonathan) appears, with the rank of sergeant, on 



the Lexington Alarm Roll, in Captain Joel Fletcher's company 
of Minute-men, Colonel Ephraim Doolittle's regiment, which 
marched from Templeton on the alarm of April 19, 1775, render- 
ing service for a period of eight days. His name appears again 
with the same rank and under the same officers, August i, 1775, 
he having enlisted April 27, 1775 ; time of service, three months 
and twelve days; residence, Templeton (Vol. XIV., page 86). 
His name appears again (Vol. LVI., page 156), with the rank 
of lieutenant on Continental pay account, in Colonel Putnam's 
regiment, for a service from January i, 1777, to December 26, 
1777, the date of his death (Vol. XVIIL, page 256). By the 
same record index to the Revolutionary War Archive, on deposit 
in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts, it will be seen that he was continued on the half-pay roll 
until December 26, 1784 (Vol. XIX., page 294). 

The Baldwin family was one of wealth and influence. Richard 
Baldwin of Cholesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, had a great 
number of descendants, nearly three thousand of them being men- 
tioned in the records. Most of the Baldwins of America are de- 
scendants from those in Buckingham, situated between Hertford- 
shire and Oxfordshire, and the name was to be met with before 
the Conqueror in the immediate vicinity of the Baldwins of 
Buckingham. The most prominent name connected with this 
family was that of Sir John Baldwin, who was Chief Justice of 
the Court of Common Pleas of England from 1536 until his 
death in 1545. Dundridge (parish Aston Clinton in Buckingham) 
and the "Braies" were granted to Sir John, and came to be owned 
by the branch of the family whose members emigrated to New 
England. Joseph, who was at the head of this branch, was the 
son of Richard Baldwin, and not twenty-one years of age when 
he came to America in 1630. He became one of the first settlers 
of Milford, Connecticut, and in 1639 his name appears among 
the free planters. Joseph the second, bom in Milford, lived in 
Hadley, Massachusetts. Joseph the third, born in Maiden, Massa- 
chusetts, lived and died there. David, born in Maiden, lived in 
Hingham, but moved to Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1740. Jona- 
than, who was born in Spencer, lived in Templeton, and became 
the grandfather of his namesake, Jonathan Baldwin Turner. 



I. John Turner (of Roxbury, Massachusetts, afterward 
Medfield, Massachusetts, married Deborah) : Children: Eliza- 
beth, Deborah, John, Isaac, Mary, Samuel, Sarah, Abigail, 

II. John: Children: John, Stephen, Edward, Ebenezer. 
III. Ebenezer (born at Medfield, Massachusetts, November 
24, 1693): Children: Ebenezer, Barzillia, Joseph, Edward, 
Abner, Elisha, Keturah, Esther, John, Seth. 

IV. Joseph: Children (fourteen): Edward, Joseph of 
Keene, New Hampshire; Ebenezer, of Quincy, Illinois; 
Reuben, of Farmington, Maine. 

V. Edward (born November, 1744; died December 26, 
1777; married Hannah Fisher): Children: Adam, Lewis, 

VI. Asa (born July 24, 1768; died August 20, 1856; mar- 
ried Abigail Baldwin) : Children : Sylvia (Mrs. Marshall 
Adden), Dulcina (Mrs. William Whitney), Avery, Asa, 
Nabby (Mrs. Benjamin Day), Jonathan Baldwin, Betsey 
(died in infancy), Hannah (Mrs. Luke Manning), and Ed- 

VII. Jonathan Baldwin (born at Templeton, Massachu- 
setts, December 7, 1805; died at Jacksonville, Illinois, Janu- 
ary 10, 1899; married Rhodolphia S. Kibbe at Somers, Con- 
necticut, October, 1835 ; she was born at Somers, September 
13, 1810; died at Jacksonville, Illinois, January 6, 1879). 

Children — all bom in Jacksonville, Illinois: Rhodolphus 
Kibbe, born September 11, 1836; died at Quincy, Illinois, De- 
cember 18, 1880; married Ella Kibbe at Springfield, Massa- 
chusetts, August, 1863. 

John B., bom January 6, 1838; married Fannie B. Tumer 
at Carlinville, Illinois, September 23, 1888. 

William H., born June 30, 1839; died at Butler, Illinois, 
September 10, 1883; married Fannie B. Grobe at Hillsboro, 
Illinois, December 12, 1864. 


Charles A., born April ii, 1844; died at Macon, Illinois, 
October 18, 1899; married Jane E. Retter at Jacksonville, Illi- 
nois, December 31, 1868; and Mary P. Hatfield at Decatur, 
Illinois, February 14, 1889. 

Mary L., bom October 30, 1845; married Dr, Henry F. 
Carriel, at Jacksonville, Illinois, May 6, 1875, 

Howard A., born June 25, 1850; died at Los Angeles, Cal- 
ifornia, June 13, 1905; married Ada Davis, at Minneapolis, 
Minnesota, January 17, 1888. 

Frederic C, born October 25, 1855; died at Jacksonville, 
Illinois, February 7, 1896; married Elizabeth Alexander at 
Alexander, Illinois, September 15, 1881.